At least traditional ships are earning money for someone, even if it's so rarely themselves: the Tall Ships Tacoma festival held in summer 2008 benefited the local economy to the tune of $19million, according to a recent independent economic study.
“We are very pleased with the information included in this report,” said Stan Selden, co-chair of the festival. “One of our goals in organising the festival was to provide an outstanding event for the community and the fact that the festival generated so much money for Tacoma is extremely gratifying.”
Completed by the consulting firm Birchhill Enterprises, the study offers both an in-depth description of the festival’s impact on the local economy and a demographic profile of the visitors attracted to the Foss Waterway during the five-day event. Cherry-picking of the study reveals that:
• More than $19 million of overall economic impact benefited the local economy
• 300,000 people visited the revitalised Foss Waterway during the festival
• $1,089,523 in state sales tax revenue was generated by the festival
• $229,047 in sales tax revenue stayed in the local Tacoma area
• 16% of festival guests travelled more than 50 miles to attend the festival, staying an average of 2.6 days in the Tacoma area
• 78% of festival guests said they would definitely attend future tall ships events in Tacoma
In addition to these and other economic impacts identified in the study, the Tacoma Tall Ships Organisation successfully lobbied the state of Washington for a million-dollar grant. This money will continue the Foss Waterway rehabilitation by paying for steel pilings along the northwest shore. The grant also eased the city’s acquisition of 1,200 feet of permanent concrete floats which were rehabilitated with donated materials and labour.
Now, how do we get the money to the ships?