Sizeable contribution to businesses

Drawing the crowds: People flocked into Perth to see The Giants. Picture: Lincoln Baker/The West Australian

Tens of millions of dollars are believed to have been pumped into Perth businesses during the three-day Giants extravaganza, which Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said had marked the city’s “coming of age”.

The influx of 1.4 million people into the city for three days stretched public transport systems to the limit, but left owners of hotels, bars, restaurants and cafes smiling.

Transport officials estimated 250,000 people travelled in and out of the city on trains at the weekend the biggest undertaking Perth’s public transport had ever dealt with.

Public Transport Authority spokesman David Hynes admitted there had been inevitable issues, but overall the system had coped.

“Perth has never done anything like this before, and we think the transport system has handled the sheer numbers of people pretty successfully,” Mr Hynes said.

Bradley Woods, chief executive of the Australian Hotels Association (WA), said businesses had reported a massive boost in revenue and he praised PIAF organisers.

“Any criticism of the festival as elitist, or removed from the masses, has to be dead and buried,” Mr Woods said.

“This weekend is the biggest impact the festival has ever made on Perth.”

Premier Colin Barnett, who took part in the Anzac ceremony made up The Giants finale, said the numbers of people who had come to see The Giants had been almost as big a spectacle as the Giants themselves.

"This has been an extraordinary event … an experience of a lifetime,” he said.

"And to all of you who have come out in your hundreds of thousands to support the Giants and to commemorate the Anzacs, thank you very much, you have made this a wonderful weekend.”

Ms Scaffidi said she felt the event has signalled Perth’s arrival on the world stage.

“I am so very proud of this city this weekend – there have been waves of people moving everywhere, but they have all been happy,” she said.

“I think this weekend, the city has come of age.”

And she said thoughts had already turned to next year, and how to top the Giants’ impact.

“The bar has been set pretty high,” she said.

Hawaiian chief executive Russell Gibbs was introduced to The Giants when he saw a video of them in action when he was travelling back from the Rob Broadfield Dinner For Telethon in Broome.

“When I went home and viewed the video, I was hooked,” Mr Gibbs said. “It had vision, it was creative — and it was going to put smiles on people’s faces.”

The subsequent six-figure sponsorship from Hawaiian, which owns Broome’s Cable Beach Club, helped secure the Royal de Luxe extravaganza.

And Mr Gibbs said the reaction had been beyond what any of the organisers or sponsors had hoped for.

“It has been a seminal event for all of Perth,” he said.

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