January 24, 2023 | By Bronwen Largier | Image: Red CentreNATS in Alice Springs in 2022

South Australia and the Northern Territory are pegging visitation hopes on their event calendars, with the NT even hooking their latest tourism campaign off major events throughout the Red Centre and Northern Australia.

After winter festival Illuminate Adelaide  helped deliver one of the best winter spending results on record for South Australia’s capital, the state government is anticipating a $400 million economic injection from events throughout 2023.

The state’s event calendar has already kicked off, with cycling event, the Santos Tour Down Under, wrapping up over the weekend, and runs through Adelaide’s traditional mad March of arts festivals, Tasting Australia in April and May, South Australia’s share of FIFA Women’s World Cup matches in July and August, to motor racing event VALO Adelaide 500 in November.

“The bumper events calendar will boost visitation and spending across Adelaide and regional South Australia,” said South Australia’s tourism minister, Zoe Bettison.

“Major events are vital for the state, attracting visitors to South Australia who will fill hotel rooms, restaurants, pubs and clubs and create and sustain jobs in our tourism, arts and events industries post-COVID.

“Beyond this, major events do a fantastic job of telling South Australia’s story through media and broadcast coverage, bringing communities together creating a wonderful sense of pride and contributing strongly to brand South Australia.

“We’ve seen some real wins toward recovery – such as September visitor expenditure at a post-COVID record of 124 per cent of its 2019 spend, and an all-time high for hotel rooms occupied in Adelaide in November. We are making great inroads and attracting major events are a key contributor to this.”

In the Northern Territory, the government has launched an advertising campaign called “Events that bring the different”, featuring seven events from across the NT. Flagship events include drag and cabaret festival fabALICE, Darwin music festival BASSINTHEGRASS, Parrtjima: A Festival in Light in Alice Springs and the Darwin Aboriginal Art Fair.

“Australia’s most unique and unforgettable festivals and events are right here in the Northern Territory, whether it’s experiencing our authentic Aboriginal art and culture, or attending our music and film festivals, the NT has so much to offer our visitors,” said the NT’s tourism and hospitality minister, Nicole Manison.

“This campaign is designed to highlight the breadth of unique events the Territory has to offer and motivate Australians to book a trip to the Territory to experience our distinctive, world class offerings.

“A calendar of iconic events creates a thriving tourism industry, boosting our economy and local jobs.”

The Northern Territory Government also recently announced it will support 39 events in 2023 through the Event Funding Program, administered by Northern Territory Major Events Company (NTMEC). The events received a combined $2.4 million in funding and include new events and 25 which secured multi-year funding deals.

“We are proud to support this program and recognise the value it contributes to the NT from an economic and social standpoint,” said Coryn Huddy, head of events and operations at NTMEC.

“The Territory’s events calendar boasts a plethora of incredible festivals and events, and we are thrilled to see the calendar grow year on year.

The NTMEC also recently flagged the success of the Red CentreNATS event in 2022 which drew a record-breaking number of entrants and contributed $6.9 million to the economy, including 20,000 visitor nights.