The Parkes Elvis Festival and its sequinned participants are expected to pump $12 to $15 million into the town’s economy this year.
Parkes Shire Council general manager Kent Boyd said the inaugural Parkes Elvis Festival in 1993 drew only a few hundred visitors.
“It struggled for many years before it started to gain momentum,” Mr Boyd said.
It was only in 2005, when word of the festival spread across Australia, that people started attending in large numbers.
“It’s been a hard-earned success,” Mr Boyd said.
“This year we are expecting more than 25,000 visitors and about $12 to $15 million in income.
“We have opened up more venues, in particularly caravan and camping sites.”
Mr Boyd said the Parkes economy gained $12 million from the last Elvis Festival.
According to the NSW Government, the event has attracted almost 40,000 overnight visitors and pumped more than $28 million into local hotels, shops and tourism attractions in the past three years.
Mr Boyd said the Elvis Festival is critical for the growth of Parkes and local businesses really look forward to this time of year.
“Interest from the local businesses was one of the fundamental reasons behind starting this festival because early January is an economically quiet period for most regional towns,” Mr Boyd said.
“It is perfect around this time of year to give the economy a little kick and provide something to people who are getting through their Christmas period.”
Mr Boyd said the festival is also used as an opportunity to promote the Parkes region.
“The marketing campaign around the festival and Parkes region received 250 million hits on social media last year,” he said.
“It made the town well-known and broadened the horizon of the market nationally and internationally.”
Mr Boyd said the festival gives people a chance to know and explore more about Parkes.
“They can see really good dining and cultural opportunities, museums, galleries and coffee shops in the area.”
Parkes councillor Barbara Newton said the festival has given a boost to the regional economy.
“The festival has an extreme economic benefit to Parkes and regional areas like Bathurst, Orange and Forbes,” Cr Newton said.
“People who travel to the festival are stopping throughout the region during their journey.
“Some people are also staying outside of Parkes and travelling in for the festival.”
Forbes councillor Michele Herbert said the festival has proved beneficial for her town.
“Many visitors stay in Forbes and attend the festival in Parkes.”