Moyne Shire Council has released data showing its two headline festivals brought more than $5 million into the local economy in 2022.
The council said its Spendmapp data - which tracks local credit card transactions - showed the Port Fairy Folk Festival and Koroit Irish Festival brought a $5,118,949 increase in spending throughout the shire compared to a normal weekend.
Spending across the Folk Festival weekend in mid-March represented a $3.58m increase over a normal weekend, and a 40 per cent increase on the same weekend in 2021, when the festival didn't run because of COVID-19 restrictions.
While the Folk Festival enjoys an international reputation, bringing in more than 10,000 people each year, the big surprise from the data was the Koroit Irish Festival bringing in an extra $1.53m to the local economy.
The festival runs in April each year as a cultural celebration of the area's strong Irish ties, but it has grown substantially in recent years. The council said 4000 people visited for the festival in 2022 and the local economic boost was 27 per cent higher than in 2021 when the event ran a limited program.
Moyne Shire mayor Ian Smith said he was encouraged by the way both festivals had bounced back from a difficult two years.
"We know events like the Folkie and Irish Festival have huge benefits for the Moyne Shire and these figure prove it," he said.
Cr Smith said the festivals were a vital part of the social fabric of the area and had an impact beyond the turnstiles and event transactions.
"Festivals and events like these have benefits beyond ticket sales - they bring visitors to the region who stay with our accommodation providers, eat at our restaurants and cafes and visit our tourist attractions," he said. "Festivals and events support local businesses and in turn local jobs - they have wide reaching benefits and that is why council is so proud to support the array of events held across the region."
According to the council there are more than 120 events held throughout the shire each year, with council providing funding for many of them.
At July's monthly council meeting Moyne councillors endorsed more than $97,000 of funding for events over the coming year, with the Irish Festival netting the maximum $10,000 grant, along with Moyneyana and the Port Fairy Literary Weekend.
Cr Smith said there was an appetite for events. "After the two years of the pandemic and the associated lockdowns, it's been great to see our events roaring back to life and it's great to be able to support them with this fund," he said.
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