Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2013

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UWRF reveals AU $1 million boost to Ubud economy in 2013
11 –15 October, 2013

For 10 years, the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival (UWRF) has been held in Bali’s cultural hub of Ubud. The 10-year anniversary Festival (11 – 15 October 2013) presented the largest and most diverse program yet, with over 200 brilliant writers, artists and performers from around the world participating in more than 220 events across 53 venues in Ubud.

The 2013 UWRF was the most well attended Festival to date, with ticket sales for the Main Program increasing by 26% on last year and approximately 26,400 visitors taking part across the full program.

The Festival welcomed more than 60 Indonesian writers, and dozens more local musicians and artists to the 2013 program. Indonesian ticket sales also increased by 26%, and the Festival’s free arts program of music, film screenings, and nightly free events was particularly popular with the local community. For the first time, the audience across the entire Festival program was close to 50% Indonesian.

‘The 2013 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival has been a glowing success. I am thrilled that its gone so well and I am excited about the success of all the extra events we featured this year – the food sessions and demonstrations at The Kitchen, to the Women of Letters tour, the screening of the documentary JALANAN, the launch of the Long Way Home Asia-Europe Short Story Contest, and the increased Indonesian participation this year” said Festival Founder & Director Janet DeNeefe.

Feedback from the UWRF audience has been overwhelmingly positive: 96% of surveyed audience members are keen to return in the future and 98% would recommend the Festival to family and friends.

In 2013, the UWRF conducted an economic impact survey in order to estimate the economic benefit the Festival brings to the Ubud community. The survey was confined to the UWRF’s core audience – those who purchased tickets to the Festival’s Main Program.

The survey found that 88% of attendees travelled to Ubud especially to attend the UWRF and that the average length of stay in Ubud was 6 days. These visitors spent an average of AU $82 per day on transport and accommodation, and a daily average of AU $43 on meals and shopping.

From these figures, the UWRF can now reveal the total revenue the Main Program audience brought into the local community through transport, accommodation, shopping and meals in 2013 was approximately AUD $1,045,980 or Rp. 9,727,614,000.

Reflecting inflation and the number of tickets sold annually over the past 10 years these estimates show that the UWRF audience has injected approximately AUD $5 million or more than Rp. 46 billion into the local economy since the Festival’s inception in 2004. This amount does not take into account those who attended special events, workshops or the free events, meaning the actual value would be higher again.

Also, the UWRF employs around 15 local staff annually, employs local drivers and photographers during the Festival, and uses local suppliers wherever possible, generating even more economic impact for Ubud & Bali.

‘The Festival was created in the wake of the second Bali Bombings with the aim to draw visitors back to Ubud. From the very beginning, we have been overwhelmed by how the Ubud community has embraced the Festival, and the generous support of our local partners” said Janet DeNeefe.

‘These figures show the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival plays a vital role in supporting and giving back to the local community. It has always felt as though Ubud is far busier during the Festival period, with more tourists on the streets and hotels solidly booked, and our findings now confirm this is true.”

In addition to the 76 Main Program panel discussions, the 2013 Festival offered 20 Special Events – including 8 literary lunches, 8 cocktail evenings and three literary dinners – and more than 20 workshops. A program of free events saw 20 arts events and exhibitions, 20 Children’s & Youth workshops, 8 film screenings, 12 book launches, a daily Twilight Festival with local musicians, and the first UWRF Zine & Makers Fair.

Outside of Ubud, the UWRF presented the annual Fringe Program in Denpasar, and toured the Women of Letters events and workshops to Jakarta and Yogyakarta. The UWRF Satellite Program continued after the Festival with team members and selected authors visiting four regions in the Indonesian archipelago – Bandung, Banjarmasin, Medan and Lombok.

The UWRF Satellite Program is the Festival’s long-term project to establish and maintain a network of literary communities across Indonesia, enabling writers and readers from different regions to gain valuable insight and inspiration from UWRF participating writers.

The 2014 Ubud Writers & Readers Festival will be held from 8 – 12 October 2014 and will celebrate the theme of Saraswati | Wisdom & Knowledge.

More information: www.ubudwritersfestival.com

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