Cheltenham Festival Latest Sports News RACING Sport

‘The total economic impact seemed to have more than doubled’-Dr. Charles Afriyie on how the Cheltenham Festival 2022 affected the local area

After the Cheltenham Festival was staged behind closed doors in 2021, the fans returned to Cheltenham in 2022 in their droves as it broke records in terms of attendance.

Dr Charles Afriyie from the University of Gloucestershire conducted a survey of the festival and stated that the economic impact of the 2022 festival was almost two times that of the last time a survey was conducted after the festival in 2015.

“The total economic impact seemed to have more than doubled,“ said Afriyie.

“If you look at it, in just simple terms the amount that people have spent has doubled. The obvious question is what are the reasons for that? There were several things that became obvious from the numbers that we had. The first one was the total number of people who attended the festival. From 2015 to 2022 the number had increased a huge amount. The number we had who attended the festival last year was 280,000 that is compared to 240,000 in 2015.”

The cost of living crisis has been a huge talking point this year and Afriyie was keen to note the role inflation had to play in the figures.

“The other thing is of course inflation. The prices of things have naturally gone up. So if you were spending a pound to buy something in 2015, you’d definitely be spending more last year.”

The Cheltenham Festival is arguably the biggest annual event in Britain and Afriyie noted that that there is significant trend in the way people are now spending their time at the festival.

“It was something we noticed from the first time we asked the question, was that people were coming sooner maybe the day or days before the festival and staying longer after the festival. For example if people had come to the festival, after they had attended the last event they were staying a day or two.“

Afriyie also explained the areas that benefitted the most throughout the week.

Follow our Park Life Sport live blog here

“The top impacts were felt around entertainment and refreshment. That was closely followed by accommodation and then tickets to events and the festival. Then shopping which also came up a huge amount and then you have package tours.”

Whilst not exclusively looking at the impact that Covid-19 may have had on attendance Afriyie did acknowledge that there is no doubt it was a factor.

“On the back of the Covid lockdown it was perhaps not a surprise that more people were coming out to such a festival. That’s one of the factors that pushed the figures up and the total attendance figures were record-breaking.”

There seems little doubt that the Cheltenham continues to be popular and Afriyie believes there are a trio of reasons why the Festival will endure.

“The three big things from what we saw were that could have accounted for the increase in spend were that more people in attendance and that they were coming sooner, staying longer and thereby spending more.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *