Not only does the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo bring tourists — and tourist dollars — to Halifax, it also inspires a sense of patriotism, according to an annual survey of audience members.
The non-profit show, which takes place at the Scotiabank Centre from June 30 to July 7 this year, is performed once a day for a week each summer, and honours Canada's military and police forces. There are bagpipers and highland dancers, acrobatic acts and military bands.
Helen Mallette, associate professor of marketing in the business and tourism department at Mount Saint Vincent University, has been measuring the impact of the show as a cultural event — and economic force — since 1987. Her late husband conducted the very first survey of audience members in 1979, and it's been happening annually ever since.
Mallette told CBC's Information Morning that approximately 1,000 people filled out the paper surveys left on their seats in 2015, out of around 44,000 Tattoo-goers. Here are some of the findings from that survey:
- Almost half of the surveyed audience members (42.5%) came from outside of Nova Scotia. (We love tourists!)
- Many of those tourists were international travellers (85.2% came from outside of Canada).
- The Tattoo attracts a significant number of newcomers each year (34.9% were rookies last year).
- Most of the audience members (86.8%) had already decided to attend the Tattoo before they even arrived in Nova Scotia — it wasn't a last-minute decision.
- They stuck around too. On average, out-of-province visitors spent 4.5 days in Halifax and 10.5 days in the province.
- International travellers spent even more time here: 8.7 days in Halifax, on average, and 17.4 days in the province.
- Tourists from other countries were also the biggest spenders, spending $679.55 per person per day.
- Canadians from outside of Nova Scotia spent an average of $286.79 per person per day.
- In 2015, the Tattoo had a direct economic impact of $33.3 million on the province (based on money spent per person, per day, multiplied by the length of their stay).
- The Canadians in the audience "strongly agreed" that attending the Tattoo made them feel proud to be Canadian (the average answer was 4.87 out of 5).