Vivid Sydney toasts biggest opening weekend on record

Vivid Sydney has enjoyed its biggest ever opening weekend, bringing more than 453,000 visitors to its activations and attracting a surge of patrons to city venues.

Festival-goers from Sydney, as well as regional NSW, interstate and international markets, turned out for the festival’s first weekend to experience some of the 300+ events and activations that make up the 2023 program. The opening weekend
attendance represents a 4% per cent increase from Vivid Sydney’s previous highest opening weekend in 2022.

The longest ever Vivid Sydney Light Walk, festival-first experiences including Lightscape and Dark Spectrum, as well as Vivid Food, were all among the most visited festival offerings on the opening weekend.

Restaurants, cafes and bars benefited from over 120,000 diners (up 5% on opening weekend in 2022). Overall, 85% of attendees purchased food and beverages during the festival’s opening weekend.

The festival was a major win for the hospitality industry in 2022, with 2.1 million visitors enjoying a sit-down or take-away meal at the festival, and people dining in restaurants up 24% on 2019.

Minister for Jobs and Tourism John Graham said: “It was encouraging to see the city’s CBD so vibrant and businesses benefiting from the record turnout.

“This festival is about community, bringing Sydneysiders and visitors from around the state, the country and the world together to celebrate our creative industries, and experience something new from world-class activations and events to diverse food culture and hospitality.”

Vivid Sydney is the largest festival in Australia and runs nightly from 6pm until Saturday 17 June. In 2022 the festival welcomed 2.58 million visitors and injected $119 million into the NSW economy.

New data shows CBD weekends are back to pre-pandemic visitation

Nightlife and weekend events are leading the recovery of Sydney post-pandemic, countering the slower return of workers, according to new data released by the Tourism & Transport Forum (TTF).

Weekend visits are driving the recovery of Sydney’s CBD, with the number of people on weekends returning to 100% of pre-pandemic levels in April 2023.

TTF CEO Margy Osmond said: “This data shows how important it is to keep investing in our arts, entertainment and
hospitality industries, as well as supporting major events. These sectors play a pivotal role in revitalising our cities and contributing to their overall recovery.”

Vivid Sydney adds drinks experiences to its line-up

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