Vivid Sydney sets record with over 3.28 million visitors

The preliminary figures demonstrate another booming year for Australia's biggest festival.

Vivid Sydney achieved its highest attendance numbers in history, attracting a crowd of more than 3.28 million people.

The preliminary figures reflect another successful year for Vivid, with participants enjoying a diverse range of programs including Light, Music, Ideas, and Food over 23 nights.

One of the major highlights of Vivid Sydney 2023 was the immensely popular drone shows titled “Written in the Stars,” which drew more than 500,000 spectators across seven shows, becoming the largest drone show in the Southern Hemisphere.

This year’s festival also saw a significant expansion in the number of free shows and featured the longest-ever Vivid Light Walk, stretching over 8.5 kilometres and showcasing 57 captivating light installations and 3D projections from Circular Quay to Central Station.

Another standout event was the Sydney Opera House Lighting of the Sails: Life Enlivened, which paid tribute to the renowned late Australian artist John Olsen AO OBE, while Vivid Music attracted a sold-out crowd of 7,366 attendees for the In Conversation event with The White Lotus creator and star Mike White and Jennifer Coolidge at ICC Sydney.

The festival’s success extended beyond the artistic and cultural realm with the city’s hospitality scene experiencing a surge in patronage, with the number of people enjoying meals during the festival increasing from 701,000 last year to 745,000 this year.

There were also unique Vivid Sydney dining experiences on offer, such as the sold-out ‘Vivid Residence’ event, where renowned chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park took over Aria Restaurant, and the Vivid Fire Kitchen at The Cutaway, which attracted 190,000 visitors.

The festival also delivered significant economic benefits to businesses in various areas of Sydney, including Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour, King Street Wharf, Barangaroo, Walsh Bay, The Rocks, East Circular Quay, West Circular Quay, and the CBD. Restaurants within the festival footprint reported that 81 percent of attendees purchased food and beverages, surpassing previous records.

Hotels in the CBD experienced increased occupancy rates during the festival, with an overall 12 percent increase compared to the previous year. Occupancy rates reached 78 percent across the CBD and peaked at 90 percent on Friday and Saturday nights.

Minister for Jobs and Tourism, John Graham, expressed his excitement about the preliminary attendance figures, highlighting Vivid Sydney’s significant growth.

“The preliminary Vivid Sydney attendance figures this year are extraordinary. Australia’s largest festival has grown by around 30 per cent. That’s an increase comparable to the population of the Gold Coast,” Minister Graham said.

“Sydneysiders and visitors relished the chance to enjoy our night-time economy and we showcased Sydney, at its finest, to the world. These figures show how popular Vivid Sydney is, how it captures imaginations and shares with visitors and Sydneysiders alike the best talent from our creative, entertainment and hospitality industries.”

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