The nine-week Snowdogs by the Sea trail brought in around £10 million to the local economy, drawing in visitors from across the south east.
Research into the popular arts trail, which saw 44 Snowdog sculptures dotted around the city last autumn, suggests visitor numbers were in excess of 350,000, and 19 per cent of those who visited the city to take part in the trail reportedly stayed overnight.
And the trail, which was organised by Martlets Hospice, raised £310,000 and an ‘unprecedented level of awareness’ for Hove charity.
Wild in Art organised the event alongside Martlets Hospice, and commissioned NGI Solutions to conduct a survey to evaluate the impact of the trail.
As well as the tourism benefits, the research also found that the event encouraged locals to explore their own city, as 42 per cent visitors from Brighton and Hove said that they had visited a new attraction or place as a result of visiting the trail.
Imelda Glackin, chief executive for Martlets Hospice, said: “We are so grateful to the Brighton and Hove community for their enthusiasm throughout the Snowdog campaign. The engagement we have seen from individuals and local businesses has been phenomenal. We set out to create something that would bring life to the city, inspiring people to get involved with Martlets and to connect with the story of The Snowman and the Snowdog – a tale of loss, love, memories and kindness at its heart, which mirrors our work at the hospice. The fundraising success we have seen as a result of the art trail has been incredible.”
Howard Barden, head of tourism at VisitBrighton, said: “We were delighted to support the trail as it gave visitors a new reason to come to the city outside of the main summer season. The trail was a great incentive to get people to explore different areas of Brighton and Hove and of course everyone fell in love with the adorable Snowdogs!”
The photogenic nature of the Snowdogs meant that the trail came alive on social media. NGI said there were more than 14.6 million social media impressions for the hashtag #brightonsnowdogs.
Over 60 per cent of visitors posted about the trail on Facebook, with Instagram and Twitter the next most popular. It also appeared in countless blogs and YouTube videos which helped extend the reach of the campaign.
However, although the digital side of the campaign was hugely influential, 31 per cent of visitors cited ‘word of mouth’ as the being the most popular way to find out about the trail.
A Brighton resident told researchers: “I have lived in Brighton for 80 years and I’ve never known a thing that has brought the community together as much as this – everybody is talking about it on the bus, in the supermarket. It’s lovely.”
Following the success of Snowdogs by the Sea, Martlets revealed they are working with Wild in Art on another special sculpture trail for Autumn 2018, but organisers said they aren’t giving anything away until later this year.
For more information and the full NGI report on the Snowdogs trail, visit: www.themartlets.org.uk