Australian Economy

This data reveals the Taylor Swift wave sweeping Melbourne and Sydney’s economies

Ingrid Moore is a self-proclaimed diehard Swiftie. 

“I’ve actually tattooed the word ‘Wonderland’ on myself in one of the Taylor Swift fonts because that’s my favourite song from her,” she said. 

When the Melbourne-based tattoo artist was tagged in posts on social media of people wanting a forever reminder of the Eras Tour, she didn’t hesitate to offer a range of designs. 

A teacup tattoo design inspired by Taylor Swift.

Plenty of businesses have been aiming to cash in since Swift announced her Australian tour.(ABC News: Danielle Bonica)

And it’s taken off. 

“I’ve already got 20 people booked with deposits paid … and by the end of [the tour], I’ll have done at least 30 to 40,” she said. 

As a small business only established three years ago, she said she didn’t expect that sort of response. 

“The only other time I’ve had this much interest all at once would be when I literally started … and [was] offering free tattoos,” she said.

Ingrid holding a tattoo gun to a client's arm, smiling at the camera.

Ingrid tattooed her favourite Taylor Swift song, ‘Wonderland’, onto herself.(ABC News: Danielle Bonica)

Sitting in her studio, bopping along to some of Swift’s greatest hits as she found a blank space on her client, Ms Moore said it was one of the reasons why she loved the pop sensation. 

“Starting my own business, it’s been inspiring seeing how well she holds herself and how incredible a businesswoman she is,” she said. 

Sydney and Melbourne looking to cash in on Swift shows

Ms Moore is just one business benefiting from what experts have dubbed the “Swiftonomics” phenomenon.

The idea that a single pop star can create massive economic ripples when she moves through the globe might sound funny.

But there are some serious numbers backing up that theory.

About 620,000 tickets had been sold to Swift’s Australian shows before a last-minute release of more tickets dropping on Tuesday. 

Taylor Swift dressed in a blue dress looks over her shoulder while standing in front of a sign saying Taylor Swift Eras Tour

When Taylor Swift attended her boyfriend Travis Kelce’s NFL game, she boosted sales of his No. 87 jersey by about 400 per cent.(Reuters: Mario Anzuoni)

The City of Melbourne estimates Swift will bring in more than $1 billion to the city’s economy alone, during the three touring nights there.

For some perspective, Lord Mayor Sally Capp said over an entire year the city normally saw about $3.3 billion in economic value from its major events schedule.

“Tay Tay is going to deliver a third of that over a weekend,” Cr Capp said. 

When the songwriter jets to Sydney for the second set of Australian concerts, the harbour city is hoping to net $133 million according to Destination NSW.

A plane at an airport.

Swift’s much-anticipated flight to Melbourne touched down early Thursday morning.(ABC News)

That’s about 28 per cent of what it expects to generate into this year’s visitor economy for major events. 

But not everyone’s convinced by those projections.

KPMG chief economist Brendan Rynne said his colleagues had projected Swift would help the Australian economy grow — but only by around $10 million in the March quarter. 

“Technically any spend associated with these patrons is just a transfer from one category of spending (or saving) to another,” he said. 

“So for those claiming the tour will make a huge boost to the economy, I would say: You need to calm down.” 

The visual signs of Swift’s devoted fandom are obvious — several people rugged up in a bid to catch a glimpse of the star as she touched down in Melbourne in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Taylor Swift fans at the airport.

Fans lined up at Melbourne Airport fences as Swift touched down.(ABC News)

In days before her arrival, fans were already flocking to buy official merchandise.

One fan in Melbourne told the ABC she’d spent more than $1,200 on Swift-related memorabilia.

A crowd of people standing by tables full of Taylor Swift merchandise with posters of her on poles.

One fan spent about $1,200 on Taylor Swift merchandise at a pop up store in Melbourne’s Crown Casino on Tuesday. (ABC News: Ashmitaa Thiruselvam)

Indirectly, her upcoming concerts appear to be putting entire supply chains under pressure.

Fans eager to join the bracelet-swapping trend that emerged in the wake of Swift’s recent Midnights album have been heading to craft shops to stock up on beads and bracelets.

This week, fans have been reporting shortages in online shopping, while artisan bead makers have enjoyed a bump in sales.

A casual glance at Google searches over the past year also suggests interest in Swift’s MCG gig could be even greater than its traditional blockbuster event — the AFL grand final.

While it’s been a boon for legitimate businesses, others have also been cashing in on the Swift ticket interest online.

Authorities estimate hundreds of thousands of dollars have been lost to scammers offering fake tickets through a series of sophisticated traps.

Additional flights needed to meet demand

With only two locations lucky enough to secure concert dates, fans are flying in from all over.

Qantas and Jetstar are expecting a 30 per cent increase in passengers on flights into Sydney and Melbourne over the concert period, compared to the same time last year.

People sitting on the ground.

Taylor Swift fans camped out overnight in Melbourne to be first in line for a second batch of concert tickets.(ABC News: Emma Rebellato)

Qantas added more than 60 additional flights — that’s 11,000 seats — when Swift first announced she was coming to Australia. 

This month, it had to add a further seven flights to continue to meet demand. 

Those flights are coming from Brisbane to Sydney and from Perth, Auckland and Brisbane to Melbourne. 

Qantas’ bookings increased by a whopping 1,500 per cent when tickets went on sale compared to the same period the year before. 

Jetstar said nearly 10,000 passengers booked flights when the concert was announced and it had seen a steady increase in bookings over the past eight months. 

While Brisbane might have missed out on snagging dates for the Eras Tour, Swifties around the Sunshine State won’t let that stop them from catching a glimpse of the singer.

It’s estimated an additional 25,400 people will pass through Brisbane Airport’s terminal to travel to Swift’s concerts in Sydney and Melbourne, according to Brisbane Airport Corporation.

It expects passenger volumes will increase by 5 per cent around the concert days, with a surge in bookings between February 15 and 19 for the Melbourne dates and between February 22 and 27 for the Sydney dates.

The airport also said there had been a ripple effect on connecting flights from Queensland’s regions including Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton, with an estimated 3,400 additional passengers.

‘Phenomenal’ demand pushing hotels to capacity

All those fans flying into Melbourne and Sydney need somewhere to stay — and the accommodation industry says it’s reaping the benefits.

Hotels in both Sydney and Melbourne are near capacity with the Australian Hotels Association saying it’s amongst the highest demand they’ve seen for an event. 

“The demand is phenomenal,” CEO Michael Johnson said.

“I’d say we have seen events in the past create similar levels of demand but not for a while.”

Japanese fans of Taylor Swift take a selfie before entering the venue for Taylor Swift's international tour

Taylor Swift toured Tokyo before making her way to Australia. (Reuters: Kim Kyung-Hoon)

The association expects occupancy rates in Melbourne to exceed 90 per cent by Friday.

It’s more than a 25 per cent increase from what they were at the same time last year. 

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