Mardi Gras: The protest march that evolved into a $40m culture and tourism extravaganza
The NSW visitor economy will be awash with pink dollars this weekend with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras expected to inject more than $40 million into local businesses, the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF) said today.
TTF Chief Executive Margy Osmond said this year’s event will see tens of thousands of visitors from across Australia and the world descend on Sydney for the climax to the world-renowned celebration.
“When the original marchers took to the streets in 1978 to call for equality and tolerance, few could have imagined that 40 years later that Mardi Gras would have grown to become one of Australia’s biggest celebrations and an annual institution for the LGBTQI community – both locally and across the globe,” Ms Osmond said.
“The Mardi Gras parade is now one of NSW’s biggest and most lucrative annual events, last year attracting more than 38,000 overnight visitors and injecting approximately 40 million pink dollars into the State’s visitor economy.
“However, it’s not just Sydney that benefits. We know that many of these visitors choose to stay for a week or more when they visit and the international visitors will also often travel out of Sydney to holiday in places such as North Queensland or Melbourne.”
Ms Osmond said that on top of the expected $40 million injection into the NSW visitor economy this weekend, the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras provides invaluable exposure of Sydney to a global audience.
“The Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is a wonderful advertisement for Sydney – not just as a city that know how to throw a party, but as a place of diversity, inclusion and acceptance,” Ms Osmond said.
“With this year representing the 40th anniversary of the march and with the recent passing of the marriage equality laws, there is no doubt that this year’s event has the potential to be the biggest and best yet.”