Narooma Oyster Festival pumps $0.5M into economy

THE 2014 Narooma Oyster Festival injected an estimated $0.56 million into the local economy and broke even, despite the rain.

2014 Festival committee spokesperson Cath Peachey gave a final report of this year’s event to stakeholders, volunteers and business people from the Chamber of Commerce at a special meeting last Tuesday.

“We’re delighted to report we managed to break even and the Festival generated an estimated half a million dollars to circulate in the local economy, despite the rain,” Ms Peachey said.

This figure is based on the standard NSW Department of Trade and Investment formula and is derived from numbers through the gate and attendee surveys.

“With rain deterring many people who would have made day trips to the Festival from along the coast as well as many locals, it is very likely a fine Saturday would have delivered a sensational Gourmet Fair and Festival,” she said.

Matt Deveson, one of the Festival’s instigators seven years ago, said the Festival “continues to bring much needed tourism dollars into the town during the quieter months”.

“It also gives us the opportunity to showcase what makes our area so special, its food, culinary skills, art, music talent and culture,” he said.

Ms Peachey said “brand Narooma” has never been stronger as a result of the extensive marketing done in association with this year’s festival, especially interstate and to Australian-based people of Chinese background.

Her report, circulated before the meeting, showed numbers were down about 50 per cent.

About 73 per cent of attendees came from outside the 2546 postcode area, 33 per cent from interstate (mostly ACT), and 57 per cent came to Narooma that weekend particularly for the festival.

Discussion at the meeting was far ranging and included suggestions for future oyster festivals including next year’s date. The meeting agreed to keep the focus on attracting visitors during the shoulder season and building community pride.

The festival will continue in its current location around Quota Park on the shores of Wagonga Inlet with the date still to be confirmed.

The outgoing festival committee thanked everyone involved in staging the 2014 Festival – sponsors, volunteers and local tradesmen.

The chamber executive thanked the outgoing committee. It is now looking for a core group of enthusiastic and capable volunteers to work on the 2015 festival over the next eight months.