Spring Racing: A Boost to Community Spirit and the Economy

The glamour and exuberance of the Victorian Spring Racing Carnival is something we’ve all missed. After two years of shows without crowds, there’s a deserved hype for this year’s Carnival – and a sigh of relief that it’ll bring the boost our economy (and our community spirit) so desperately needs post-pandemic. Although the event is coined as ‘the race that stops the nation’, year after year, it seemingly does the opposite – serving as one of the greatest annual contributions to the Australian economy and one of the greatest events in the social calendar.

More than 100 years of entertainment and economic prosperity

The Victorian Spring Racing Carnival first graced the world with its presence over a century ago. Since then, it’s become an iconic event that showcases the most exquisite thoroughbred horseracing and serves as one of Melbourne’s (and Australia’s) biggest occasions on our calendars every year. The event spans 50 days and combines four major race meets – Derby Day, Melbourne Cup, Oaks Day, and the grand finale, Stakes Day.

The spring races are more than just an excuse to get dressed up and celebrate – they’re a pivotal part of Melbourne’s healthy economy. With retail sales escalating and the hospitality industry heaving, every year, the spring races inject the city with life and spirit and stimulate the economy in more ways than one:

1. Fashion

Since its inception in 1860, the Spring Racing Carnival has been a mecca of fashion and style and acts as the second biggest attraction to the event – with people dressing to the nines and forking out each year for new attire. Unsurprisingly, retail and beauty services sales surge around Carnival time. In 2018, eventgoers spent more than $62 million on fashion, beauty, and grooming.

2. Hospitality

Hundreds of thousands of people flock to the racecourse each year to see the action and indulge in some of the best cuisines Melbourne has to offer. The food affair continues beyond the racecourse too, with every restaurant in the area bustling with race supporters and homes across the nation firing up the backyard BBQ as guests gather to watch the races. All this socialising comes with great benefit to the Australian economy – with nearly $30 million spent on hospitality during the Carnival each year, and backyard BBQs.

3. Employment opportunities

As well as giving the economy a boost, many Australians’ pockets benefit from the spring races. In 2018, 21,000 staff and contractors were employed to help run the event, creating thousands of employment opportunities for the country.

4. Tourism

Spring Carnival has global and domestic pulling power and attracts an audience from all over Australia and the world. Out of 325,000 attendees in 2018, almost 35% travelled from outside Victoria. That adds a huge boost to airline travel – both domestic and international – as well as the commercial accommodation sector. In 2018, the races brought in $31.3 million in commercial accommodation alone.

5. Milliners – hats off!

Very few occasions warrant an accessory as fabulous as a headpiece. They’re reserved for only the most special events – like the spring races! Fascinators, top hats, and hair pieces all add a pop to a race day outfit, making Australian milliners extremely busy this time of year – showcasing their craft and featuring their work throughout the Carnival.

6. Entertainment

As a city known for its arts and culture, the races are the Melbourne entertainment industry’s time to shine! From dancers to musicians and everything in between, entertainers of all kinds are given the opportunity to showcase their talents at the Carnival’s events and other private functions and celebrations. The live entertainment industry was worth $36.5 billion to the Australian economy in 2019, so with such high demand for them at the spring races, there’s no denying they’re a huge contribution to the economy.

Spring races – a thrill for the crowd and stimulus for our economy!

With the glamorous fashion, the thrill of having a flutter, the bustling vibe of the city, and the elegance of the event itself, the iconic Spring Racing Carnival is the place to be this October. And after two years in lockdown, this year’s event is set to be among the best yet. If you want to skip the travel and be closer to the action for this year’s races, or if you’re dreaming of a new living space for entertaining your guests, talk to your local First National Real Estate office today – we could help to find your dream home just in time.


The above advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as medical, legal, financial, or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial, or real estate decisions. Click here for full Terms of Use.

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