Monet Brings in Dollars as Well as Visitors

10 September 2009

The Monet and the Impressionists exhibition held at Te Papa earlier this year brought in a huge cash injection for Wellington.

An economic impact report by McDermott Miller says the total new spend in Wellington city as a result of the exhibition, from February until May, was $34.5 million.

Mayor Kerry Prendergast has welcomed the report, saying it's a fantastic result and more than justifies the investment the city makes in Te Papa.

"That's a whopping figure for just one event and far exceeds our expectations. It just shows how important events like this are for our city's economy."

The McDermott Miller report shows that the total value added or net economic benefit to the Wellington City economy was $14.8 million.

They estimate the spend was divided into 28% shopping, 27% cafes and restaurants, 25% accommodation, 8% land transport, 6% leisure activities and 6% other.

The report says that 341 full time equivalent jobs were also created as a result of the exhibition.

Monet and the Impressionists was the largest and richest collection of Impressionist paintings ever to come to New Zealand. The exhibition included more than 50 paintings from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, including 27 paintings by Claude Monet. Other paintings displayed were by Renoir, Degas, Cézanne and Pissarro.

More than 150,000 people attended the Monet exhibition and 52% of them came from outside the Wellington region.

Mayor Prendergast says another fantastic result is that a survey of Monet-goers showed 98% of them rated their trip to Wellington as 'very good' or 'good'.

Michelle Hippolite, Te Papa's Acting Chief Executive and Kaihautū, noted that Monet and the Impressionists was Te Papa's second most-visited short-term exhibition after The Lord of the Ring Motion Picture Trilogy - The Exhibition.

"The economic impact study of Monet and the Impressionists shows that there is a fundamental appetite and a market in New Zealand for sharing enriching cultural experiences," Ms Hippolite said.

"Wisely managed and presented, these exhibitions also have a major financial impact both on cities and on the country."

Positively Wellington Tourism Chief Executive David Perks said the exhibition played a significant part in Wellington's tourism sector, holding its own in a challenging year. Visitor nights in the capital in the year to June were down just 0.14% - effectively matching record visitation of the year before despite the global economic downturn.

"More than half of the exhibition attendees were from outside the Wellington region and almost three-quarters of them named the exhibition as the main driver for their visit. The power of major events to compel people to 'visit now' is unmatchable."