The 2013 Vivid Sydney festival, which dazzled Sydney-siders and tourists alike with colorful light shows and artistic events across the city, has announced a record attendance of more than 800,000 people over the 18-day event in May and June.
NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Stoner on Monday said the 2013 crowds were significantly larger than last year, with visitors travelling from overseas to take in the sights -- including a spectacular water show on Darling Harbor and colorful transformation of the Sydney Opera House.
"Vivid has huge appeal and has been successful in attracting visitors not only from this state and across Australia -- where domestic travel packages were up eight percent -- but also internationally, with over 11,000 travel packages sold, including 7,200 from China," Stoner said in a statement.
"Vivid also reached audiences in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide through extensive media coverage. I am confident Vivid Sydney will have delivered this year well in excess of the estimated 10 million AU dollars (9.6 million U.S. dollars) in economic impact.
"Some of the waterfront restaurants at The Rocks saw a 300 percent increase in diners, with reports of their capacity last seen during the Olympics. Many Darling Harbour restaurants also experienced similar growth," he added.
As the biggest annual festival of light, music and ideas in the Southern Hemisphere, government tourism and events agency Destination New South Wales (NSW) said Vivid had been embraced by locals and visitors and is now a signature event on the NSW calendar.
"To be able to hold an event which attracts so many visitors, not only domestically but also from all over the world is very special, and of course is an important contributor to the goal of doubling overnight expenditure by 2020," said Sandra Chipchase, CEO of Destination NSW.
"There has been excellent collaboration with key partners and sponsors as well as hundreds of local businesses and communities to make Vivid Sydney a success, and something that is looked forward to every year.
"It's a hallmark event for Sydney and Australia, and is also increasing its fan base internationally," she added.
Online, more than 1 million people visited the festival's website from May 1. On Facebook, Vivid Sydney saw a 200 percent growth in fans, and Vivid Ideas registered a 2,800 percent growth in fans.