Dunedin buzzing : Visitors bring economic boost

I'm still sitting . . . Elton John fans Kent Barber and Parisa Shademan, both of Wellington, relax in the Octagon yesterday. Ms Shademan said the concert on Tuesday night was "amazing" and the atmosphere and crowd at Forsyth Barr Stadium were "really good". "I loved it." PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Dunedin has been “singing in the rain” as the city buzzes with tens of thousands of good-humoured visitors.

Up to 120,000 visitors are expected to arrive in Dunedin this month, among them Masters Games competitors, concert-goers for Elton John and Queen and Adam Lambert, cruise ship passengers, pipe bands, and returning students and their parents.

Their presence will bring an economic windfall to the city, likely more than $80 million, but will also help enhance Dunedin’s growing reputation as a great host city, commentators say.

Enterprise Dunedin chief executive John Christie said concert promoters and others had “indicated how well Dunedin does as a host city”.

“The business community always gears up for it, and so do community groups, with sausage sizzles, food and entertainment.

“People are generally in a good frame of mind, so the city has a great atmosphere,” Mr Christie said.

Dunedin City Council Community Development and Events manager Joy Gunn said Tuesday’s heavy rain had meant that the planned programme of pre-concert Octagon entertainment, including a fashion show, had been cancelled.

“We have been planning these events for a long time, but unfortunately, we can’t control the weather,” Mrs Gunn said.

However, a full programme of activities were being planned in support of Monday night’s Queen and Adam Lambert concert.

“The mood around the city is very good, we have a lot of people out enjoying the city’s attractions, restaurants and cafes,” she said.

About 100 volunteers were supporting the Masters Games and were also available to help concert-goers with directions and information.

Sunshine came a day late for Elton John concert-goers relaxing in the Octagon yesterday, after the show at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Heavy rain and low temperatures had greeted them on their way to the stadium on Tuesday evening, but once inside most were able to dry off.