Major opportunity and benefits seen in festivals and shows

Tourism, fashion and arts events organisations were keen to keep or raise the funding they received from the Dunedin City Council in challenging economic times.

Ross Gamble, an iD Dunedin fashion week committee member, gave a glowing review of last year's event, which he said had grown its reputation, making it the envy of other New Zealand cities.

The fashion week committee believed the iD show at the railway station could run for two nights instead of one, and wanted council funding to increase from $35,000 to $100,000. The biggest costs were for technical teams and setting up the railway station, and those were one-off costs, meaning an extra 50% would be gained from every extra ticket sold.

Spin-off events such as "starlight shopping" had shops such as Glassons "buzzing", Mr Gamble said, with 500 people in the store and shoppers 10 to 12 deep at the counter.

Dunedin Fringe Festival director Paul Smith asked for an increase in annual funding from $15,000 to $20,000.

Mr Smith said the recent festival was a major step forward for the festival trust. Many shows had sold out, and it received good media coverage. He told the committee a smaller, shorter annual festival was a better model for the event than a larger festival every two years.

While the sponsorship environment was "challenging", the trust was working to increase what it received.

Tourism Dunedin elected not to ask for further funding for its operations. Chief executive Hamish Saxton said the organisation accepted the council grant of $1.1 million.

Otago Festival of the Arts director Nicholas McBryde asked the council for $65,000 for the next financial year, up from the $50,000 allocated. The 2010 budget for the festival was $928,000.

Mr McBryde said the festival contributed to the city's economy and supported 19 full-time equivalent jobs.

The Dunedin Public Art Gallery Society called for its council grant to be doubled to $100,000, saying it would help boost art tourism to the city.

Society president Rosemary Bradshaw said it was vital the gallery's collections continued to expand, to retain the gallery's reputation.

The "enormous potential" of art tourism had been demonstrated by a recent delegation of North Island art collectors, who were "blown away" during a visit to the city, she said.

"Art as a tourist activity has enormous potential and the gallery is the flagship for art in Dunedin. We must continue to enhance the gallery . . . if we are to attract tourists to the city and enhance the lives of our own citizens."

Cadbury events co-ordinator Lee-Anne Anderson also sought an increase to $80,000 in council funding for the annual Dunedin chocolate carnival, saying it was a drawcard to the city during a quiet period of the year.


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