Culture

"DokuFest 2023": Over 16 thousand visitors and about 4 million euros economic impact

Tourism and cultural diplomacy in Kosovo have taken another dimension thanks to "DokuFest". But the festival also has a direct contribution: the economic one. The figures show that in last year's edition the Festival had a direct economic impact of around 4 million euros, while the number of visitors reached over 16 thousand. The GAP Institute has published the report "Economic Impact of Dokufest 2023". The figures revealed there show that the Festival has returned to the parameters of the time before the pandemic

The International Documentary and Short Film Festival "DokuFest" continues to have the primacy of the largest cultural event not only in the country in terms of cinematography. As for the impact on cinematography, it has been proven for a long time, starting from education and bringing out new talents. Tourism and cultural diplomacy in Kosovo have taken another dimension thanks to "DokuFest". But the festival also has a direct contribution: the economic one.

The figures show that in last year's edition, the Festival had a direct economic impact of around 4 million euros, while the number of visitors reached over 16. The GAP Institute has published the report "Economic Impact of Dokufest 2023". The figures revealed there show that the Festival has returned to the parameters of the time before the pandemic.

The report highlights that in 2023, the total number of visitors to the 22nd edition of the Festival was 16 people.

"From the analysis of the visitors' expenses, it appears that the impact of Dokufest 2023 on the economy of Kosovo was about 4 million euros", the report reads. According to this document, the impact is observed in sectors such as gastronomy, accommodation and transport.

"Moreover, compared to the expenses incurred for the organization of 'DokuFest' 2023, the findings show that for every 1 euro invested, 7.8 euros were generated for the economy of Kosovo", the report reads. The organization of the last edition, where 230 films were shown, cost 516 thousand euros.

GAP data shows that out of 16,756 visitors, about 7 thousand 138 or 43 percent were for the first time at the Festival, while 9 thousand 618 or 57 percent have also participated in previous editions.

"About 5,050 (30%) of them were international citizens who had come to Kosovo just to attend the Festival", the Report reads. However, according to the survey, it appears that the main reasons for participating in the festival were interest in films, about 64 percent, and the desire to experience the atmosphere of the event.

GAP has also received the data of the Tax Administration of Kosovo about the turnover of businesses in Prizren during the month of August 2023

"It turns out that business revenues have increased by 20% (a total of 117 million euros) compared to the same period of 2022 (98 million euros)," the report reads.

It shows that the average daily expenses of ticket buyers who are residents of Prizren during "DokuFest" were 52.9 euros, while those of participants from countries outside Prizren were 101.17 euros.

"The largest part of the expenses of visitors from countries outside Prizren goes to the category of accommodation (28%) and that of food and drinks (23%)", the report reveals.

The report also clarifies the work methodology for data collection. It shows that the GAP Institute has made an assessment of the economic impact of "DokuFest" through the collection of primary and secondary data and their interpretation in economic terms. It is shown that the data was collected through the survey of the festival participants regarding their expenses during the participation in the festival. The survey was conducted by the specialized company for data collection "UBO Consulting". Ticket buyers and non-ticket buyers were the two surveyed categories.

"Primary data was collected from a questionnaire that assesses the amount and manner of spending by visitors during the days and nights of 'Dokufest 2023'. The questionnaire that was used is intended to break down the general expenditure of visitors across different sectors to see their destination and consequently to evaluate the impact of the festival across these sectors", the report reads. It is known that in order to ensure the accuracy and representativeness of the data, a sample of 650 visitors who bought tickets was selected for the first category. In this case

"In the selection of the sample, every fifth buyer of tickets at the ticket sales stands was selected until a sample of 650 visitors was reached. The margin of error in the results of the first survey was 3.8%", the Report explains. For the second category, a sample of 380 visitors who visited Prizren at that time, but did not buy tickets, was selected. Even in this case, every fifth visitor was selected. In this case, the margin of error in the survey results was calculated to be 5 percent.

The report states that about 5 thousand and 50 visitors were international citizens who had come to Kosovo just to attend the Festival.

"Of this figure, 3,197 (63%) of them were in Kosovo for the first time, while 1,856 (37%) of them had visited the country in the past. Of those who had visited Kosovo in the past, 1,031 have visited Kosovo several times, while 825 of them have visited it once," the report reads. The data shows that 76 percent of the visitors were very satisfied with the experience experienced at the Festival.

Besides the direct impact of around 4 million euros, it is estimated that the impact on the gross domestic product is over 2.8 million euros. Comparisons of figures reveal that for every 1 euro invested in the Festival, 7.8 euros were generated for the country's economy, while if the return on investment from public funds alone is analyzed, it turns out that for every 1 euro invested, 22.8 euros were generated. "DokuFest" was directly supported by the state with 176 thousand euros. Of these, 100 euros from the Ministry of Culture, 70 from the Municipality of Prizren and 6 euros from the Cinematographic Center of Kosovo. The revenues of the Festival from the sale of tickets, souvenirs and other services, turn out to be 88 thousand and 142 euros in the last edition.

For the organizers of the Festival, the data are indicators that encourage will.

"The main thing for us is probably that for a short time after the pandemic there has been some recovery of statistics, numbers and indicators. In reality, we probably did not expect that this would be possible so soon", said the artistic director of "DokuFest" Veton Nurkollari. Before the pandemic, the Festival was in numbers close to this impact. In 205, the direct impact on the economy was estimated at 4.7 million euros.

Nurkollari said that the numbers for last year's edition were seen in reality, but now it has been confirmed by the neutral side.

"The importance has been proven, as the numbers are not small. What we have seen has been confirmed. We have no mechanism, so this neutral research has proven what we say. This is especially important for the city of Prizren. It is something that for a short time brings good things for the economy, for the cultural tourism not only of Prizren, but also of Kosovo", he said. According to Nurkollar, the data are indicators that show that it is possible to hold a big event and promote the country.

"We are very happy with the number of foreign visitors. So in Kosovo it is possible to visit this place, it is safe and interesting. This is one of the good indicators brought by the report", said Nurkollari. It has shown that the figures of the Report pleased them as organizers and at the same time it is an independent research.

"The situation with big events and festivals in the world is not the best. The pandemic has left a big mark and uncertainty. Some of the festivals are in crisis, the funds have been reduced. All this makes us happy that Kosovo is a safe place for such events," he said. It has shown that it remains for them to use the momentum created by the Report and based on these data to reflect on the 5-year strategy of "DokuFest".