Agricultural expos, conventions and field days are an important part of the event landscape in Australia, and an important part of many regional event portfolios. In 2019, there were over 50 Field Days in Australia attracting an average of 10,000 visitors and 300 exhibitors to each event. One of the largest is Agquip, held in Gunnedah which attracts over 100,000 visitors.
Many Field Days have been operating for 40 years or longer, offering important opportunities for local farmers, communities and agri-businesses to connect. Our evaluation and research at Field Days show that visitors attend with intentions to find a good deal from a local dealer, and to purchase new products. Others find the event an entertaining day out for the whole family.
Like any business, Field Days are constantly finding ways to innovate and meet the changing needs of visitors. Events such as Tocal Field Days combine opportunities for agri-business with family entertainment to create an engaging event for local and visiting audiences.
Over the past 10 years, our event evaluations have assisted Field Day organisers to understand the changing needs of their visitors, and their exhibitors to create an event that meets and exceeds expectations. In 2021-22 we will be evaluating 20 field days across Australia to identify the profile of visitors to the event, their levels of satisfaction and their purchasing preferences. The results will be presented to all members of the AAFDA at their next conference.
Art events and cultural festivals are an important part of the cultural landscape of regional Australia. They range from small community art prizes, to city wide extravaganzas. Each event contributes to the cultural value of the town or city and offers important opportunities for artists and entertainers to gain exposure for their work.
Arts events include film festivals and mardi gras, as well as leisure conventions, but also include a myriad of music festivals. From their origins in the 1960’s when the great rock music festivals of Woodstock in 1969 and the Isle of White in 1968 changed western society’s ideas of large scale celebrations of modern culture, to the modern day mega productions of Supersonic and the Big Day Out, music festivals shows no sign of decline.
Our recent research shows the value of these events in attracting high proportions of visitors from outside the region and their ability to contribute to the cultural image of a destination.
Recently, our research discovered that over 1,000 sport events were held in regional areas of Australia between January and December 2014. While the media stories on mud runs and extreme sport events promote the popularity of more diverse sport events, the search found that most sport events were in traditional areas of running (marathons, half marathons), sailing (regattas, championships) and triathlon. However the nature-based environments in regional areas are also popular locations for events in shooting (clay and target) and paddling (rowing, dragonboat and kayaking). A total of 44 sports were found including championships for less well known sports such as croquet, rogaine and frisbee.
Running events were clearly the most popular representing 25% of all regional sport events in that year. This follows the trends for increased participation in marathons – also the increasing diversity of both the types of running events (mud runs, colour runs, neon runs, parkrun) and location (ultra marathons, desert marathons). While city marathons are the most popular in terms of the number of registered competitors, marathons held in regional areas can develop to become their own signature event for regions like the Gold Coast Marathon, with 5,616 entrants, or specific towns like Wangaratta Marathon (103 entrants).
Media coverage of sport events in regional areas can be highly beneficial both for the sport and for the destination, with an event like Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IronMan Series and Telstra Iron Woman Series generating an estimated Combined publicity value of more than $5.5 million. Apart from the important publicity, the influx of visitors assists in providing an economic boost to regional areas, especially when sport events can be clustered to create sport event destinations. In 2013, the Mooloolaba and Noosa triathlons and the PGA golf championship were expected to contribute more than $36 million to the Sunshine Coast, attracting almost 88,000 people to the area.
Destination Research continues to assist sport event managers and sponsors to evaluate the tourism, economic and recreational value of the event to the event and the wider community.
Contact us for the full report.