The sun may have gone down on the first and last Newcastle tour by Elton John, but local tourism and hospitality operators are still revelling in the wake of the event’s success.
Large crowds flocked to McDonald Jones Stadium for the first stop on the Australian leg of the mega-star’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, injecting more than $12 million into the local visitor economy.
Of the more than 50,000 tickets sold for two performances, 11,000 tickets were purchased by visitors from outside Newcastle, 2000 from interstate and more than 120 by international visitors.
It also attracted A-listers, with Richard Wilkins, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban arriving via private jet for the first Newcastle gig.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the city was still buzzing after Sir Elton John’s two performances that have shone a spotlight on Newcastle and elevated its status as a national events destination.
“It has been an amazing week here in Newcastle for locals and visitors with Sir Elton John performing in our city for the first-time on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour,” Cr Nelmes said.
“City of Newcastle partnered with Venues NSW to secure Newcastle as the first stop on the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour in Australia under a strategic Major Events Partnership and would like to congratulate the event organisers for putting on a fantastic show for our locals and visitors.
“Attracting headline acts of this calibre is a testament to Newcastle’s growth as a world-class event city and indicative of our maturing local economy.
“Major events are a key part of City of Newcastle’s Destination Management Plan as a primary driver of the local tourism visitor economy, delivering both an immediate and ongoing benefit for the community and economy, with greater visitation, investment and liveability outcomes.
“City of Newcastle is committed to ongoing strategic investment in major events and tourism through event sponsorship, industry development, tourism brand refresh Seek Off Beat and targeted marketing campaigns which are integral to building a thriving, diverse and robust visitor economy.”
The upcoming expansion of Newcastle Airport will pave the way for attracting more international events, while international hotel brands like Crystalbrook and QT have already recognised Newcastle’s expanding tourism appeal, investing millions of dollars to open five-star hotels in the city.
“What we have seen this week is nothing short of record breaking. The first performance has driven unprecedented demand on a Sunday which is typically our quietest day of the week,” QT Newcastle General Manager Michael Stamboulidis said.
Local hospitality operators like Earp Distilling Co. have been welcoming guests from as far flung as the Whitsundays to Victoria over the past few days according to manager Cameron Burns.
“We’ve been run off our feet, thanks to Elton. This tour has been huge for local tourism and hospitality operators. The more we can help bring events like this to Newcastle, the better,” Burns said.
In celebration of the concert, Earp had a neon grand piano in our Barrel Room for selfies prior to the big show.
McDonald Jones Stadium Venue Manager Dean Mantle said the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour has been a major success.
“McDonald Jones Stadium is officially back open for concerts after successfully staging two at-capacity Elton John shows,” Mantle said.
“While it had been more than 30 years between concerts, the success of this tour will only strengthen McDonald Jones Stadium’s position to secure more major events of this scale, complementing the offering from our sporting partners, the Newcastle Knights and Newcastle Jets.
“The success of this event was made possible due to the strong partnership between Venues NSW, City of Newcastle, Michael Chugg and Frontier Touring.”