A new study shows the Salzburg Festival is a major money-spinner for the region, giving back far more than it takes in subsidies.
The Centre for Future Studies of the University of Salzburg found that the 2011 Festival generated 276 million euros of income, which resulted in 36 million euros of tax revenue. Its public funding on the other hand was a measly 10.9 million euros.
With 200 year-round jobs and over 3,600 employees in the summer, the Festival is a major employer in the region, too. It's also estimated that it indirectly safeguards a further 3,200 year-round jobs by generating additional revenue for various businesses.
The survey of 3,500 visitors also revealed what most of guessed long ago - that the Festival is full of rich, old people. 80% stay in a hotel, typically an upscale one in the centre of Salzburg. The average foreign Festival guest stays a week, taking in around four events. Typical expenditure is around 2,220 euros on accommodation, dining, shopping and other expenses and a further 550 euros on tickets (I have to point out it can be done for significantly less than this, if you're thinking of visiting).
Despite the Festival's purse-draining properties, the proportion of repeat customers is extraordinarily high, with 72.5% classified as regular visitors. Only 8.2% of respondents were there for the first time in 2011.