Christmas Tree to float on for five more years

Thursday, 25 October 2018 12:21 PM

Geelong’s highly popular floating Christmas tree will continue for another five years, after Council agreed to tender for its installation from 2019 until 2023 inclusive.

The decision comes on the back of the tree’s significant impact since its launch in November 2014, as the key element of the City’s annual Christmas in Geelong program.

A report presented to Council in May showed 164,872 people flocked to see the tree during the 2017-18 Christmas period.

Overall, the 2017-18 Christmas in Geelong program injected an estimated $17.3 million into the local economy.

In a sign of the tree’s positive impact on the community, face-to-face and online surveys found that 97.3 per cent of visitors rated the tree as important or very important, while 92 per cent agreed or strongly agreed that they felt proud of Central Geelong during the Christmas program.

An independent economic impact and cost benefit analysis from 2016 said the tree produced a return-on-investment of 5.4 to one.

Council has approved a total of $2,303,990 over the next five years’ budgets for maintenance, storage and installation of the tree. This will start with $420,666 in the 2019-20 budget.

The costs include barge hire, assembly, display and the sound and light show.

Council will also investigate further opportunities to modify and enhance the tree so it continues to attract high visitor numbers, including possible new mooring sites along the Geelong Waterfront.

The Christmas in Geelong program aims to:

  • Help generate community pride and festive goodwill across the entire Geelong community;
  • Stimulate economic activity in central Geelong and across the region;
  • Boost the public and media profile of central Geelong, the City of Greater Geelong and our broader region; and
  • Offer a range of free celebration activities for all surrounding communities.

An engineering assessment earlier this year confirmed that the tree is structurally sound, meaning it is able to be displayed for a further five years.

This year’s Christmas in Geelong program will launch at the Geelong Waterfront on Friday 9 November.

Acting Mayor Peter Murrihy:

The floating Christmas tree has become an icon of Geelong, and produced significant economic benefits for our region.

Most importantly, it is loved by our community, who attend the Christmas in Geelong program in huge numbers every year.

We’re delighted to have committed to the tree for another five years, and look forward to investigating how we can continue to improve the experience so that Christmas in Geelong maintains its enormous popularity and impact.

Cr Ron Nelson, Chair, Tourism and Events portfolio:

I must admit I was concerned when the tree was initially proposed in 2014. But since then the investment has been well and truly justified. The tree has become an icon for Geelong, and gets us recognition on a national level.

We now need to make sure we continue to make the tree better, whether that’s making it bigger, whether it’s more interactivity – whatever it might be. We should think creatively and stay open to all possibilities.

The tree creates an incredible vibe in Central Geelong with children, families and people of all ages mixing together happily. I’m looking forward to it continuing for another five years, and I can’t wait for this year’s launch in around three weeks’ time.


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Page last updated: Thursday, 25 October 2018