A 20% rise in visitors from outside the region, a 95-year-old volunteer and two wedding proposals; this season’s NPDC-run TSB Festival of Lights dazzled.
New figures from Venture Taranaki (VT) show a big rise in visitors coming to the region for the event from 7,845 in 2016/2017 to nearly 9,600 this season. The research shows the value added to the regional economy jumped from $4.6million to $5million.
“Around $5million added to our economy and 9,600 outside visitors shows what a huge drawcard the TSB Festival of Lights is. This amazing free community event brings out people from all walks of life; locals, visitors from across Taranaki and New Zealand all enjoying this visual symphony funded by NPDC,” says Mayor Neil Holdom.
The research on the festival, which last season ran from 16 December to 5 February in New Plymouth’s Pukekura Park, also found that 95.8% of people were either extremely satisfied or very satisfied with their experience at the festival.
“The festival is a much-loved and long running event that adds to the experiences on offer to our tourism market, which grew 6% overall during the year to the end of February,” says VT’s General Manager Marketing Vicki Fairley.
“We are delighted to see international guest nights up by 28% over the same period. Attractions and events such as Pukekura Park and the TSB Festival of Lights help to ensure Taranaki remains a fantastic place to visit.”
- The lighting route is 3.5 kilometres of walkways through Pukekura Park.
- The TSB tunnel of Light on Poet’s Bridge this season includes 1000 LED light points and more than 150 hours of design and development time.
- The lights are on for about 50 nights.
- More than 20 staff and volunteers work behind the scenes each night at the festival.
- It takes about six weeks to install all the lights and cabling through the park for the festival.
Highlights from this season’s festival included:
- A new Summer Seniors programme for older folk.
- Glow Yoga packing out the Fred Parker Lawn.
- Seven winners getting to put their names in lights over Poet’s Bridge.
- Two wedding proposals, including one written in lights.
- 95-year-old Dorothy Anderson doing her bit as a volunteer.