Food + Wine Fest hits strong numbers, in a recession

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The College of Charleston's Office of Tourism Analysis completed its annual Economic Impact Study of the Food + Wine Festival and came up with some big numbers.

  • The Festival welcomed over 15,000 guests, up 2,000 from 2008, at more than 50 events throughout the weekend, almost all of which sold out.
  • Of those 15,000 guests, 44 percent were non-local and 13.6 percent had never visited Charleston.
  • The average non-local visitor spent $610 per person locally and the average travel party was four adults, up from three adults in 2008.
  • Based on information supplied by the festival's hotel partners, 241 hotel packages/rooms were sold.
  • Total ticket sales were $772,929 which is up from $562,335 in 2008 and $82,904 over the 2009 ticketing budget
  • The labor income is $876K, up from $817K in 2008, with generated tax of $322K up from 290K in 2008.
  • The total economic impact of the Festival to the Charleston area was estimated at $2.36 million, up from $2.21 million in 2008.
For some context on those numbers, SEWE had a $60 million impact on the local economy in 2006 and Spoleto boasted a $30 million impact in a 2005 analysis. The Food + Wine's impact might be small potatoes compared to the big guys, but its growth promises a big future for the festival.

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