Festival a pearl for tourism

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Jakeb WaddellBroome Advertiser

Shinju Matsuri may be a showcase of Broome’s melting pot of culture and history, but the true financial extent of its role in the local economy has now been uncovered.

According to an independent study, the annual festival — which means festival of the pearl — pumped more than $5 million into the region’s economy last year, more than any other Kimberley event. The regional impact evaluation showed about $1 million was spent on both entertainment and food and drink in 2017, with visitors forking out $940,000 on accommodation.

Nearly $300,000 was spent on tours during the festival, with pearls and jewellery also faring well, attracting about $500,000 of sales. Average total spend per visitor was determined at $269 a day.

The report showed an influx of visitors to Broome during the festival last September, with an average stay of nearly two weeks.

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Shinju Matsuri president Chris Maher told the Broome Advertiser the board aimed to make the event the leading cultural festival in the nation.

Mr Maher said the results were healthy signs they were on track to accomplish their goal.

“I am very happy with the outcome of last year’s event and the economic impact was even larger than I expected,” he said.

“It has been in our strategic plan to make Shinju the leading cultural festival in the nation and it appears we are on the right track.

“It continues to deliver better economic outcomes for Broome and the wider region and we will aim to continue to grow and bring in visitors.”

Broome Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Jael Napper said the homegrown celebration delivered a number of benefits to the community.

“It is an economic driver to stimulate tourism and also a magnificent marketing tool to publicise our multicultural history,” she said.

“We all benefit from its success, especially the many businesses who trade on the tourists.

“It brings the residents together in celebration, which is also important for a healthy, functioning community.”

Last year’s celebration was highlighted by the town float parade and closing ceremony, which saw more than 6000 pack the Cable Beach amphitheatre.

Other popular events included the sunset long-table dinner, pearl meat cook-off, live opera, floating lantern ceremony, pearl diving demonstrations, geisha ball and motor show.

A survey of visitors who attended the event revealed a 91 per cent satisfaction rate with their overall experience in the Kimberley.

Other data showed an 84 per cent satisfaction rate with the festival itself, as well as the quality of events and information available.

The study was undertaken by Perth-based marketing company Metrix on behalf of Tourism WA.

This year’s festival is to be held from August 25 to September 2 and Mr Maher said new and exciting content would be announced throughout the year.


Total spend: $5,002,890

Entertainment: $1,032,159

Food and drinks: $979,667

Accommodation: $941,015

Pearls and jewellery: $493,219

Tours: $297,764

Average visitor spend:

$269 per day

Average visitor stay:

13.7 nights

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