Derbyshire Dales District Council’s 2018 Matlock Bath Illuminations recorded a 10% increase in visitor numbers.
And the 121st Illuminations season was once again operated by the council at no cost to local Council Tax payers.
The autumn showpiece, which cost more than £163,000 to stage, ran from the start of September to the end of October, attracting 58,393 paying visitors.
The District Council’s Community & Environment Committee will be asked on 10 January to plough back £15,000 of last year’s budget surplus into updated lighting and improving the visitor experience in 2019.
Councillors will also be asked to approve a recommendation that sponsorship be sought to further invest in this year’s autumn spectacular.
A report to the Committee meeting reveals that 79% of visitors took advantage of cheaper online tickets in 2018, allowing for a reduction in the number of staff needed at the event ticket offices.
Substantial savings had also been made by focusing marketing of the Illuminations on social media rather than traditional paid advertising.
Planning is already underway for this year’s event, led by the District Council, which rescued the autumn showpiece when the former organising company was voluntarily wound up after the 1983 season was hit by bad weather.
A post 2018 event consultation exercise has taken place to gauge feedback from people who attended, including an online survey and a meeting in Matlock Bath with local traders and the boat builders whose parade on the River Derwent forms the centrepiece of the Illuminations.
- View the report to our 10 January Community & Environment Committee
It is estimated that double the amount of paying visitors – well over 100,000 people – are attracted to Matlock Bath during the Illuminations in September and October, helping to extend the mini resort’s tourist season and boosting the local economy.