The number of Canberrans who headed to Floriade bloomed last year, while interstate and international visitors wilted slightly, according to official visitor numbers.
A total of 442,243 people attended the festival of flowers in 2012, 7.3 per cent more than the year before, the figures issued by the ACT Government said. The event broke its single-day attendance record, with 35,200 visitors on Sunday, September 30, and had its highest numbers ever over the Labour Day long weekend, when 87,299 visitors walked through the gates.
While there were more ACT attendees than ever before, the number of interstate and international visitors dropped to 122,759, representing a direct expenditure of about $27.6 million in the capital, down 8 per cent from the $30 million spent in 2011.
According to Ernst and Young analysis commissioned by the government, 77 per cent of international and interstate visitors listed Floriade as their prime motivation for visiting the ACT.
A statement from Tourism Minister Andrew Barr said the 2012 results were the second best since the introduction of turnstiles at Floriade in 1999, with higher attendance recorded in 2010, but higher expenditure recorded in 2011.
NightFest also added $1.3 million in direct expenditure to the ACT economy, with 23,306 people heading along, mainly to check out the light installations. One evening was cancelled due to extreme weather, resulting in a decrease on last year's attendance.