LIMERICK City of Culture generated close to €44m for the local economy during 2014, a new report has found.
The major economic impact assessment of the year of culture was carried out by Grant Thornton Ireland, who measured the impact of Limerick hosting the national designation.
The report found that the year long programme - which is now revealed to have cost a total of €12m - generated almost €44m from over 3,000 events, attracting an audience of 1.8m people.
The key event of Royal De Luxe Giant’s Journey in September attracted the largest audience ever assembled in Limerick for a single event – 230,000 people.
A separate social impact study reveals that 364 new local partnerships were formed and 2,504 Limerick artists were employed in various projects in 2014.
Key findings of the economic impact report show that almost €30m was spent by people attending City of Culture events; that the €12m invested - including €4.5m in additional funding on top of the State’s contribution - generated a minimum €13.4m benefit to the regional and national economy, including €1.4m indirect and induced benefits; and that the year long programme generated a €13m cumulative advertising value, based on a total of 4,887 press and broadcast articles in 2014.
The report shows that, on average, 86% of the business community felt City of Culture had a “positive impact on image and perception, future confidence, business activity and social inclusion”.
Welcoming the findings of the report, City of Culture board chairman Pat Cox said the “ambitious project” had “exceeded our expectations and the objectives”.
“I’m confident that Limerick is now being looked at locally, nationally and internationally with a fresh eye after undergoing its very own renaissance as a result of this successful designation,” he said.
“I’m also confident that the continuation of various cultural activities and community involvement is already generating a long term positive effect on the city and I wholeheartedly welcome this. Limerick can take confidence from it and can do so much more.”
Conn Murray, chief executive of Limerick City and County Council, said: “Limerick was presented with a unique opportunity during 2014 to attract national and international attention and I’m particularly pleased with the feedback from the business community, the cultural vibrancy between practitioners and in communities, the scale and impact of the year and huge economic and social benefits that were generated.”
He added: “We are in the midst of preparing a bid to host the European Capital of Culture title for 2020 and the experience and knowledge gained by the organisation and management of more than 3000 events will no doubt be brought to bear by Limerick’s team in our bid for the European title.”
The social impact study, which was carried out by research team including Theatre Forum and a leading academic from Warwick University, found that 156 funded projects took place with 85 more supported in kind, that there was 1,630 performances and 2,589 exhibition days, an estimated 1.8 million attendances, 236,600 tickets issued, 140 funded projects in Limerick city, with 15 funded projects in the county.