16 Jun 2009

Fieldays organisers encouraged despite recession

4:37 pm on 16 June 2009

Organisers of the National Agricultural Fieldays say while the recession did have an impact on attendance and sales, it did not bite too deeply.

The annual event showcases primary industries, suppliers and produce and is in its 41st year.

The weather as well as the economic climate had a dampening effect on crowd numbers, with rain during most of the four-day event at Mystery Creek near Hamilton.

Between Thursday and Sunday, 117,000 visitors went through the gates - about 10% fewer than last year's record attendance of more than 130,000. However, Fieldays general manager Barry Quayle says organisers were happy with the turnout and many exhibitors, who had prepared themselves for more modest sales this year, did better than they expected to.

Mr Quayle says while he expects the total sales made during and following Fieldays to be down on the $300 million spent last year, he does not think it will be significantly lower.

He says there was also a significant increase in the number of overseas visitors and exhibitors this year, with representatives from more than 40 countries attending.