The Balloon Fiesta - £25 return for every £1 spent

Rob Eveleigh
Managing Director | Brightelm
5th June 2019
Member roleChamber member

In 2018, the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta celebrated its 40th anniversary. The event first took place in 1979, with just 28 hot air balloons. In the years that have followed the event has built a world-famous reputation, attracting half a million visitors over the four days.

Thanks to the event, images of hot air balloons have become as synonymous with the city of Bristol as Brunel’s Suspension Bridge and over the course of the weekend the event firmly positions Bristol on the world stage.

Maintaining a free event

The event is managed by a Board and committee of volunteers who ensure that, amongst other things, the event remains free to attend for the public, promotes employment in the local area, and above all is a credit to the City of Bristol.  The 800 volunteers involved in the delivery of the event commit over 32,000 hours a year to help bring the Fiesta to life.

Half a million visitors a year

Around 500,000 people a year visit the Fiesta over it’s 4 days, come rain or shine. It’s a family day out, with activities to boot, attracting 50% of it’s audience from the Greater Bristol area.  Around 35% of visitors travel in excess of 50 miles to get there.

£25 per every £1 spent

The event has an incredible economic impact on the Greater Bristol area with visitors spending an average of £25 for every £1 invested, a staggering £20 million pounds worth of investment into the local economy.  This dwarfs any other public festival in the south-west.  It takes roughly £800,000 a year to run the festival, nearly 45% of which goes to ensuring the security and safety of the visitors to the event.


The future

Plans for 2019, the 41st time this event has been run, are progressing well and the organisers are now proactively looking for sponsors and exhibitors.  For more information call 0117 427 0135 or email


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