Vivid Sydney Continues To Break Records Even During A Pandemic

Earlier this year during May & June, Vivid Sydney returned after 2 years of cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and whilst the pandemic is still raging around the world, the event continued to break records showing Sydneysiders will still have confidence regarding major events in a post-COVID-19 world.

The New South Wales Government revealed a new attendance record was set: 2.58 million people over 23 days – a rise of 7.3% on pre-pandemic levels in 2019. This equates to an average of about 112,000 per day at Vivid Sydney. Compare that to the official 2022 opening weekend attendance of 440,000 people, another record attendance, which is about double the average attendance (220,000 per day). The opening night itself received 140,000 attendees.

But it didn’t beat the behemoth that is, the (former) Queen’s Birthday long weekend where 636,000 people attended (318,000 per day).

About 81% (2.1 million) of all Vivid 2022 visitors had a meal during their event visit, which shows the importance of a culinary experience at Vivid. Organisers have emphasised this recently by announcing an official expansion of the event to include a new Vivid Food program in 2023. However, most (66%) bought takeaway meals. 701,000 people (or 33% of meal purchasers) ate at a restaurant, cafe or hotel and whilst this may be the less popular choice, it grew as an option by 24% on its previous record.

Public transport usage also grew by 3% to 63% of (1.6 million) attendees while 90,000 people (4% of total visitors) viewed Vivid Sydney from cruises (which themselves are mostly part of a light display) but it shows most Vivid Sydney visitors view the lights not on the water.

While Vivid Light once again is the focus of the event with 96% of the attendance, attendances of the other Vivid programs in 2022 are:

  • Music: 70,100 (3%) (about 701 people per performance on average)
  • Ideas: 27,942 (1%) (about 263 people per session on average)

Vivid Light‘s newest precinct at Central Station & The Goods Line received 45,000 visitors (1,957 visitors per day, 2% of total & Light-only visitors), once again showing that nothing can remove the magnet that is Circular Quay.

1% (20,434) of Vivid visitors go on to travel around New South Wales post-event. It may be a small percentage, but it brings $12.2 million to the regional New South Wales economy.

There were also more than 72,000 family groups with small children in prams as well as 8,912 mobility participants and 5,000 wheelchair participants.

Also, more than 108,000 Vivid Sydney travel packages were bought contributing to a total of 567,249 total nights stayed in commercial accommodation during the event.

Media wise, there were 21,000 media clippings, which was double than 2019 & a 48.4% increase in website traffic on 2019, reaching 2.7 million hits. #vividsydney reached 353 million people while official social media content reached 81 million people (16% increase on 2019). Lastly, there were 411,000 viewers of official live streams on Facebook & TikTok, showing people prefer to be at the event than via a screen.

All up the event brought a $119 million boost to the New South Wales economy.

Volunteers from ages 18 to 89 also contributed 11,498 hours to the event.

After all that, it is no surprise that Vivid Sydney ended up winning 14 medals at the 2022 International Festival & Events Association Pinnacle Awards.

We have seen unprecedented attendance for Vivid Sydney 2022, which is wonderful to see and a clear sign Sydney is back bigger and better than ever

The stats speak for themselves and reflect the significant contribution the festival makes to the city’s economy with local hotels, bars, restaurants, tourism operators and small businesses all reaping the benefits. 
Almost 30 per cent of attendees came from outside Sydney, with a significant portion of visitors then travelling into regional NSW, generating $12.2 million to regional economies. 
World-class events like Vivid Sydney are all about helping to boost the NSW economy, create jobs and showcase why Sydney is the best place to live.

Minister For Tourism, Ben Franklin