17 Nov 2023

Illuminate Adelaide creates $54.3 million winter glow


Winter in the CBD looked bright this year, thanks to Illuminate Adelaide 2023 generating a record-breaking economic boost for the state’s visitor economy.
Data released today for South Australia’s newest major winter event, shows this year’s Illuminate Adelaide generated $54.3 million in economic activity for the state – making it a new record-high for the event in its third year. 
More than 1.3 million attendances were recorded across the free and ticketed events, with more than 15,000 interstate and overseas visitors contributing to nearly 66,000 of those attendances.
The month-long celebration of art, light, music and technology generated nearly 34,000 visitor nights and more than 4,000 employment opportunities.
The new figures come as Illuminate Adelaide takes to the world stage, with event organisers and partners invited to a famous light festival and an international tourism conference to spruik the South Australian major event.
Illuminate Adelaide co-founder and creative director Rachael Azzopardi has been invited to attend the world-renowned Fête des Lumières in Lyon in December, known as one of the best and biggest light festivals in the world, and will connect with creative directors from other light-based festivals around the world and meet international artists.
Adelaide Botanic Gardens CEO Michael Harvey attended the International Garden Tourism Conference in Canada earlier this month on behalf of Illuminate Adelaide and Adelaide Botanic Gardens, to present and talk about the delivery and success of Resonate and Light Cycles by Moment Factory to conference delegates from across the globe.
Highlights from the Illuminate Adelaide 2023 economic impact report, prepared by Professor Barry Burgan from Bond University:

  • $54.3 million economic activity generated for the South Australian economy
  • 1.3 million attendances including free and ticketed events
  • 15,079 interstate and overseas ticketed visitors, contributing to 65,994 attendances
  • 33,727 visitor nights generated
  • 91% of attendees visited the Adelaide CBD specifically to attend Illuminate Adelaide
  • 4,176 employment opportunities generated, equivalent to 348 full-time jobs
  • 304 artists presented with 68 new commissions from local and overseas technology and creative industries.

In 2023, a regional installation of Illuminate Adelaide helped drive tourism recovery for flood-affected communities. Supported by the State Government through the South Australian Tourism Commission, in partnership with the Mid-Murray Council and award-winning artists, River Lights was held in Mannum for 10 days in August.
More than 20,000 people attended River Lights which spanned the riverfront and six locations including Pretoria Hotel, Mannum Hotel, and Mannum Club.
Illuminate Adelaide is supported by the State Government through the South Australian Tourism Commission.
Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said a shining example of how Illuminate Adelaide continues to get bigger and better each year, with a record-breaking economic injection to the state. 
"More than $54 million in economic activity generated for South Australia and a fantastic boost to visitation in our CBD during the traditionally quieter winter months," Minister Bettison said.

"On top of the more than 15,000 out-of-state visitors attending Illuminate Adelaide in 2023, it’s clear our state’s major winter event is getting noticed on the world stage, as organisers are invited to spruik its success at major conferences and long-standing festivals across the northern hemisphere.
"I was really encouraged by the number of people who got behind our state’s flood-affected region, getting to Mannum to enjoy River Lights and support local businesses who’d had it tough.  
"I look forward to seeing Illuminate Adelaide return in 2024, with another exciting celebration of art, light, music and technology."
Illuminate Adelaide Co-Founders and Creative Directors, Rachael Azzopardi and Lee Cumberlidge said to receive such a massive response from the public is incredible given it’s only Illuminate Adelaide’s third year.
"Since our inception in 2021, we’ve strived to create an impact in South Australia throughout winter and draw people out of their homes and into the city’s streets and venues. To see the economic impact that this major event has on South Australia is thrilling, and we’re so proud to host an event for all people to enjoy, no matter which part of the world they come from," Ms Azzopardi and Mr Cumberlidge said.
"We’re excited to reveal our 2024 program next year and are exceptionally grateful to our major partner, the State Government through the South Australian Tourism Commission for their commitment and support.
"We can’t wait welcome back people from all walks of life to Adelaide’s streets."