Can Taylor Swift really help Australia’s economy?

Taylor Swift has whipped the world into a frenzy with her Eras Tour. 

In March, Swift kicked off her travelling roadshow with a series of shows in the US, with some of those states since reporting she is boosting local economies.

She even got a call out in the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s ‘Beige Book’, highlighting her pitstop in Pennsylvania’s largest city.

“Despite the slowing recovery in tourism in the region overall, one contact highlighted that May was the strongest month for hotel revenue in Philadelphia since the onset of the pandemic, in large part due to an influx of guests for the Taylor Swift concerts in the city,” the bank said.

When Swift announced Australian tour dates, her fans got excited, but so did people hoping she could give the economy a boost.

Speaking to The New Daily, Dr Angel Zhong, a finance academic at RMIT, said it is expected Swift will contribute some $4 billion to the US economy thanks to her tour.

It is probably true Swift’s presence in Australia could help the economy, but it’s not as straightforward as one might think.

Pictured is Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s world tour includes more than 100 concerts and a handful in Melbourne and Sydney.

What could Taylor Swift do for the economy?

According to Dr Zhong’s estimates, the tour could generate millions in direct consumer spending. 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates 1.7 per cent of the Australian population will go to see Swift perform.

Including tickets, and taking into account some people will travel to see the show and will require accommodation, the average Swiftie could spend $900 to see a show.

Based on that average person spending $900, Dr Zhong estimates Australia could see a $405 million boost to the economy, however, that won’t all be retained in the economy.

A conservative estimation is $320 million in GDP, Dr Zhong said.

Dr Andreas Cebulla from Flinders University said economic benefits of large, one-off events are always limited to the immediate area of the event and for usually only a short term.

“There’s a tendency to think the money spent on tickets reflect the value the event will have to the economy,” he said in an email to The New Daily.

“This is questionable: Taylor Swift and her entourage will be the main earners.”

Which is true – Swift will be able to pocket about $35 million thanks to her Australian leg of the tour, Dr Zhong predicts.

There’s also direct costs that are overlooked, Dr Cebulla said, like policing and the clean-up after a show. And while the Eras Tour might create jobs, they will likely be temporary. 

And because we are in a cost-of-living crisis, some tickets were expensive and some people will have to travel, there could be a “substitution” effect.

Pictured is Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift will perform in Sydney and Melbourne in 2024. Photo: Getty

Could Taylor Swift cause a ‘substitution effect’?

People will be spending a lot to attend the Eras Tour, either on flights, accommodation, food or even merchandise.

Tickets alone started at $79.90 and went up to $379.90. 

So there is a chance some fans will be making financial sacrifices to be able to afford seeing Swift in concert.

Dr Zhong said a friend of hers was lucky enough to secure tickets for her and her daughter, so the two of them will be flying to Melbourne from Queensland.

“So they know that they’re spending quite a lot, which is why they might cut out a lot of spending from now until February,” Dr Zhong said.

“So if maybe half of the fans who attend a concert will cut their spending in order to save up for this event, it could end up to be a zero-sum game.”

 Local businesses could come out winners

Taylor Swift might be the biggest winner of this tour, but there will be a few locals who will reap the benefits of the singer-songwriter’s brand power.

Dr Zhong says they will be restricted mainly to Sydney and Melbourne, where Swift is playing.

“Airlines, accommodation, also dining venues and transportation, local transportation, including but not limited to public transport, as well as taxi and rideshares,” she said.

Virgin Australia said there was a 656 per cent increase in bookings to Melbourne and Sydney for Taylor Swift’s concert dates.

According to 9Honey, there has been a huge surge in demand for accommodation in Sydney and Melbourne around the dates for Swift’s tour, with some hotels reportedly already booked out.

Swift has even left some lawmakers overseas a little salty after she skipped over their countries on her tour.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau literally pleaded with Swift on Twitter to bring her tour to his country.

Conservative MP Matt Jeneroux filed what he called an “official grievance” on social media, imploring her to book some dates in Canada.

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