New figures reveal Warrnambool's May Racing Carnival delivered an economic boost to the city over the three-day event.
Data from an economic impact report shows the carnival generated a total expenditure impact of $13.9 million, of which $11.3 million was spent in Warrnambool, with $8.4 million representing new money generated for the city.
Warrnambool Racing Club, in partnership with Warrnambool City Council, has conducted the study over the past three years and racing club chief Peter Downs said the results not only showed a significant impact for 2019, but a strong trend across the past three years.
"We are extremely pleased to be contributing strong economic and tourism benefits to Warrnambool and it's great to see that the results have been very consistent over a three-year period," he said.
"During carnival week, the benefits of the event are clearly visible; all of which are supporting small business and jobs within the town.
"While attendance numbers were slightly down compared to the previous two years, the economic impact is actually greater this year than in 2017 and we've generated a record number of bed nights overall."
He said the racing club's partnership with the Warrnambool Visitor Centre and the establishment of an accommodation database meant the club was able to overcome the challenge of accommodation shortages experienced in the past.
Data compiled by independent company IER Pty Ltd found the carnival had a total attendance of 28,543 people, of which more than 76 per cent were from outside the Warrnambool region.
The results showed the carnival brought more than 13,000 into the region who otherwise may not have visited and it generated 28,878 bed nights in Warrnambool and 11,619 bed nights in other parts of the south-west.
Mayor Tony Herbert said the carnival brought thousands of people to Warrnambool and helped to raise the city's national profile as a major destination.
"The May Racing Carnival is not just Warrnambool's largest annual event, it's the biggest country racing carnival anywhere in Australia," Cr Herbert said.
"It's a terrific event that our city takes great pride in hosting."
"While most people in Warrnambool understand the importance of the carnival, studies like this show just how significant a boost it provides to the local economy.
"While it's absolutely a bumper time of the year for tourism operators, the benefits of the carnival are evident across a wide range of sectors of our business community."