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“The Festival Product is just right!” – New study on the economic importance of the Salzburg Festival

21 DEC 2011

published in: General

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Reinhold Popp, Dr. Helga Rabl-Stadler, Dkfm. Bernd Gaubinger, Christoph Engel, Photo: Werner König
The enormous economic importance of the Salzburg Festival for the region and all of Austria is demonstrated by a study conducted by the Center of Future Studies at Salzburg’s University of Applied Sciences, led by Dkfm. Bernd Gaubinger.

Providing 200 year-round jobs and more than 3,600 summer jobs, the Salzburg Festival is an important employer in the region. Its tax and social insurance contributions alone provide the state with more revenue than the sum of the subsidies paid to the Festival for the same year. But what is at least equally important for the economic development is that the Festival secures about 3,200 year-round jobs throughout Austria indirectly.

The basis for the new study is a poll conducted among Festival visitors in early 2011 (which evaluated about 3,500 usable questionnaires); its results provided the data necessary for calculating the economic effects of the Salzburg Festival.

“Unlike other cultural enterprises, the Salzburg Festival bears a double responsibility, one artistic and one for the overall economy,” Festival President Dr. Helga Rabl-Stadler emphasized at the final presentation of the study’s results together with Dkfm. Bern Gaubinger. “Since its founding, it has been an artistic and economic motor for an entire region. This motor is stronger today than ever: the overall economic effect has grown to 276 million Euros – more than ever before!” Helga Rabl-Stadler said. “Thanks to the effect of taxes flowing back to the government, the Salzburg Festival brings in many times what it costs in subsidies.”

Dr. Rabl-Stadler was particularly pleased that the Festival was able to enhance its position in the eyes of the audience further. The average Festival visitor from outside Salzburg stays in Salzburg for a week, attending four performances, frequenting a higher-class hotel in the city of Salzburg and spending a total of 2,220 Euros on accommodation, food, shopping and other expenses for the entire duration of his or her stay, plus an average of 550 Euros on Festival tickets. Most people attend Salzburg Festival performances in pairs, but stay in Salzburg during the Festival in groups of three. With an average of 18 previous visits to the Festival, this visitor can be called a long-term regular guest. “The Festival product is just right: both the number of regular visitors as well as the length of their stay and the guests’ spending have increased further. More than ever, the Festival is not only an artistic bonus, but also an economic advantage for the city, state and nation, for the taxpayer and for business in Salzburg, but also throughout Austria.” (Rabl-Stadler)