They came. They saw. They spent a lot of money.
Those are the findings from a survey of people who attended the April 26-27 Welcome to Rockville music festival at Metropolitan Park.
The economic impact study, conducted by the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Laboratory, indicates a $10.3 million direct economic impact from 17,600 people outside Duval County who were at least somewhat influenced to visit Jacksonville.
According to the survey, 9,850 event-related commercial room nights were purchased in hotels and motels. The average length of stay was 2.26 days and the visitors averaged spending $163.80 per day, resulting in an estimated direct expenditure of $6.42 million. Applying the regional festival event multiplier of 1.6 yields the economic impact of $10,272,000.
“Tourism is an economic development tool,” said Paul Astleford, Visit Jacksonville president and CEO. “Many people in the community may not realize that.”
The summary explains that residents who spend money at events may produce a short-term surge in the economy, but they would have spent the money in the community eventually, even if it were spent in a different manner.
According to data collected from 687 interviews of Rockville attendees, 70 percent lived outside Duval County. The festival was the main reason 98 percent of those surveyed visited Jacksonville.
“Performing arts events such as Welcome To Rockville indicate that people who are interested in particular types of music are willing to travel and stay at a destination to see their favorite bands, which we believe will lead to growing attendance and local spending in the future,” said Astleford.
Hotel rooms were booked by 78 percent of festival visitors. Ninety-four percent of visitors arrived in Jacksonville in their personal vehicles, while 4 percent flew in.
Over the course of the two-day festival, visitors averaged spending $83 per day at the event.
Males accounted for 57 percent of those surveyed, females 43 percent. The largest age group by percentage was 25-44 at 59 percent, followed by 18-24 at 28 percent. Sixty-four percent said their annual household income was $35,000 or more.
The survey has a margin for error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.
The UNF studies of One Spark and Welcome to Rockville visitors have changed Visit Jacksonville’s outlook.
“We have not done this kind of research in the past, but we are now going to look at all events,” Astleford said.
UNF surveyed Jacksonville Jazz Festival attendees over the weekend and will conduct a study June 14-15 during Florida Country Superfest at EverBank Field, he said.