(pictured L - R) Lee Cumberlidge, Zoe Bettison MP, Rachael Azzopardi, Theo Maras

South Australia’s newest winter event drove a sparkling $44.8 million in economic activity generated for the state contributing to the strongest July on record.

According to figures released by the Adelaide Economic Development Agency, businesses in Adelaide’s CBD and North Adelaide recorded their strongest month since December 2021 – with an estimated $365 million total spend across city shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels, up from $342 million in June.

The night-time economy contributed to a third of overall spend, with spending levels between 6pm – 6am higher in July than the traditional ‘Mad March’ period earlier this year.

Now in its second year, the celebration of art, light, music and technology was embraced by local, national and international audiences and enjoyed sold-out events and extended seasons with a record 1.2 million attendance during the event.

Illuminate Adelaide has also released their economic impact report, prepared by Professor Barry Burgan from Bond University and it includes specific CBD data from the Adelaide Economic Development Agency.

According to the event’s Co-Founders and Creative Directors Rachael Azzopardi and Lee Cumberlidge, SA’s newest winter event delivered;

$44.8 million in economic activity generated for the South Australian economy
9,863 interstate and overseas visitors to ticketed events
$41.3 million benefits to the state ($22.7 million in economic impact/new income and $18.6 million in well-being outcomes for South Australians)
19,594 visitor nights generated
40% overall increase in attendance numbers and estimated spend
50,353 attendances to regional events staged in Renmark, Mount Gambier and Victor Harbor
407 artists presented with 44 new commissions from local and overseas technology and creative industries
4,600 employment opportunities generated across tourism, hospitality and associated industries, equivalent to 386 full-time jobs supported
75 per cent of visitors journeyed to South Australia specifically to attend Illuminate Adelaide

In addition to the city activations, Illuminate Adelaide also attracted huge numbers for three regional shows – Renmark’s In Depth, which attracted 11,213 visitors over four weeks; Mount Gambier’s Digital Garden, which saw 17,398 people head to the state’s south-east over two and a half weeks and Victor Harbor’s Harbor Lights, with a total of 21,742 spectators.

Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison MP said "Illuminate Adelaide has grown so strongly that it is now driving significant social and economic activity not just in the CBD and North Adelaide but also in our regions.

The event has helped bring our city to life during the traditionally quieter winter months, encouraging people off their couches and into the city, spending in record amounts and celebrating the immersive magic of the installations.

Rachael and Lee have truly delivered what they promised, with more than a million people taking part, and loving what they see.

I know the Illuminate team are already working on next year’s program, which I am sure will once again be world class, innovative, and will challenge audiences while creating memories for people of all ages."

Co-Founders and Creative Directors Rachael Azzopardi and Lee Cumberlidge said "We are thrilled Illuminate Adelaide has reinvigorated the city in winter by attracting so many people into the CBD to experience the program.

We are also excited to see how Illuminate Adelaide has been embraced by South Australians and visitors alike consolidating its position as a major event in the annual calendar and a successful city-wide celebration of art, light, music and technology that shines a light on Adelaide and generates significant benefits for the state in winter.

Working with artists and innovators, the CBD businesses and the State Government through the South Australian Tourism Commission to bring this event to life has been fantastic - a truly successful city-wide collaboration. We can’t wait to bring the event back to the city’s parks, venues, lane ways and precincts in 2023."

Chairman of Maras Group Theo Maras said "Illuminate Adelaide has put a whole new spin on winter in the CBD and given people a reason to get out and about during a time that historically has seen many hibernate.

We have never seen so much activity and trade for a winter's month.

It’s a tremendous event for Adelaide City.

The CBD was an exciting and safe place for young people and families to enjoy the event and we look forward to the growth in years to come."

Acting CEO City of Adelaide Ilia Houridis said "The City of Adelaide welcomes the increased visitation and economic boost Illuminate Adelaide helped provide during July.

The role festivals such as Illuminate play in supporting the city’s night-time economy should never be underestimated, so it was particularly pleasing to learn spending levels between 6pm – 6am were consistent with the busy summer festival period.

This year Illuminate was supported through our Events and Festivals sponsorship program, demonstrating Council’s commitment to expanding Adelaide’s global reputation as a ‘magnet city’ through attracting and welcoming world-class events and festivals to the city.

We look forward to continuing to work with Illuminate and welcoming this unique event back to the city in 2023."

Read the full 2022 Results here