Wheels’ economic impact nearly double

Wheels at Wānaka injected $19.2 million of direct spending into the Queenstown Lakes District economy in April — nearly double the amount of the 2021 event.

An economic impact survey, conducted by Christchurch-based research company The Research First, revealed of that spend, $13.5 million could be directly attributed to event motivated expenditure such as accommodation, meals and transport.

In 2021, the economic impact of Wheels at Wānaka was $10.3 million, with $6.9 million deemed to be event motivated.

Event motivated visitors are defined as those who travelled from outside the Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago Districts primarily to attend Wheels at Wānaka.

Total event expenditure from outside the Queenstown Lakes and Central Otago Districts amounted to just over $750,000, including gross revenue from ticket sales and total sponsorship revenue.

Trade and food stall revenue was excluded from the figures but amounted to an estimated additional $1,500,000, the report said.

With 3000 vehicles and a record crowd of 40,700 people — up from 25,000 in 2021 — Wheels at Wānaka could now lay claim the title of Australasia’s biggest all-vehicle show.

It is a positive sign for the event which had steadily grown on all fronts since its inaugural show in 2019.

On the back of the 2023 success, the Wheels at Wānaka Charitable Trust are set to share the financial love by donating $100,000 to a range of community groups.

Cure Our Ovarian Cancer and the Wānaka Community Workshop MenShed are the major recipients and will receive $15,000 and $5000 respectively.

Wānaka community groups whose members volunteered at the event will also benefit with nearly $26,000 to be distributed between them.

In addition, the Land Rover 75 Year Anniversary Rally raised $9000 for Landsar Wānaka thanks to the efforts of rally director Rod Corbett.

Wheels at Wānaka general manager Allan Dippie said the team was "delighted" with the event’s results.

“Wheels at Wānaka was established to give back to the community and to encourage the preservation of precious vehicles and their history.

"We’ll also be distributing a percentage of profits to some of the passionate clubs who work tirelessly towards this common goal," Mr Dippie said.