North Star Debuts New Community Research: Measuring the Economic Impact of Festivals and Events

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North Star Destination Strategies completed an economic impact study for the 2011 BMW Motorcycles of America Rally in Bloomsburg, PA. By surveying Rally attendees, North Star discovered that the 2011 BMW MOA Rally generated an overall economic impact of over $4.5 Million on the Bloomsburg area.

States are regular calculators of the economic impact of tourism on the state economy. But the same data is incredibly useful on a much smaller scale for Visitors Bureaus, especially when it comes to festivals and events...

North Star Destination Strategies, a boutique community research and destination branding firm based in Nashville, TN, recently helped the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Columbia and Montour counties in northern Pennsylvania understand the impact of visitor spending during a June event on the local economy. The 2011 BMW Motorcycles of America Rally, held in Bloomsburg in June, brought a significant amount of visitor spending to the area. BMW MOA was also a partner in the research, with the Visitors Bureau and the Association working together on the goals and needs for the survey.

The main goal of the visitor survey was to identify the economic impact of Rally attendees’ spending on the local economy. However, in addition the insights gleaned from North Star’s in-depth process of analyzing the resulting data will point the way towards priorities for the BMW MOA and CMVB, including teasing out the most effective channels to facilitate targeted marketing efforts.

Rally attendees were asked about their spending during the event in the categories of lodging; food/dining at the event vs. in the local area; shopping at the event vs. the local area; attractions, museums and tours; entertainment; and transportation. North Star found that on average, a Rally attendee spent $105.61 per day, more than two times that of a typical Bloomsburg visitor ($47.32). The estimated revenue generated for the event itself is $1,342,270, and the estimated revenue generated for Bloomsburg is $1,479,341. This creates a direct economic impact of $2,821,611, and an overall estimated economic impact (includes induced and indirect effects of spending) of $4,655,658.

According to Shannon Gray, North Star's Director of Research, economic impact studies are important ways for Visitors Bureaus to prove the value of their work. "States are regular calculators of the economic impact of tourism on the state economy. But the same data is incredibly useful on a much smaller scale for Visitors Bureaus, especially when it comes to festivals and events. Leaders need proof that their efforts generated income so that they can argue for an increased (or at least maintained) budget the following year. Proving success in dollar terms also helps to rally the community and local businesses around making the event as successful as possible."

North Star is committed to providing its clients affordable, effective and customized community marketing research that utilizes current resources and provides relevant, meaningful results that improve tourism marketing. To learn more about North Star’s research products visit http://www.northstarideas.com/communityresearch.htm
To learn more about North Star Destination Strategies visit http://www.northstarideas.com.

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Anthony Domine
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