ABBA Voyage boosts London economy with £323m of annual spending

ABBA Voyage boosts London economy with  £323m of annual spending

The ABBA Voyage concert – currently booking until November 2024 – has been a huge success that will surely pave the way for more avatar experiences.

A new report has now revealed that it’s also provided a significant economic boost for London, including the area surrounding the ABBA Arena in East London.

Producers for ABBA Voyage, which sees digital versions of ABBA perform seven times a week in the purpose-built 3,000 capacity ABBA Arena, have published the analysis of its year one socio-economic impact on London and the local community.

Compiled and assessed by global research and strategy consultancy Sound Diplomacy and social value consultancy RealWorth, the report covers the first operational year of ABBA Voyage from May 2022 to May 2023, with the intention to be repeated annually. This report also includes a one-off analysis of the period of construction for the ABBA Arena. 

Created with ABBA, and produced by Svana Gisla and Ludvig Andersson, ABBA Voyage opened in May 2022 to rave reviews. In the first year of operation, it had more than one million visitors, 20% of which had travelled from outside of the UK. 

ABBA and Universal Music Recordings/Polar Music won the Catalogue Marketing category at the Music Week Awards 2023. The catalogue campaign will continue with a huge anniversary in 2024 – 50 years of Waterloo, which won ABBA the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974.

The new report’s analysis shows that ABBA Voyage has had a significant and positive economic and social impact on London and the local area (the boroughs of Newham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest). 

“The operation and attendee spending are ongoing generators of economic contribution to the local and city-wide economies, demonstrating that as long as ABBA Voyage is in London, it has the potential to contribute to the economic wealth of the city,” stated the report.

ABBA Voyage’s economic impact:

• ABBA Voyage contributed £322.6million in turnover to the London economy between May 2022-May 2023, and £177.7m in GVA (Gross Value Added).

• 42% of this total was generated in the local area (boroughs of Newham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest), which equals £134.1m turnover and £73.7 million GVA.

• The multiplier effect of ABBA Voyage on the London economy equates to every £1 of ABBA Voyage’s revenue generating a turnover of £3.12. The majority of the economic impact in the local area was sustained by attendee spending on local accommodation, food & beverage, transport, shopping and entertainment; 98% (£131.2 million) of the turnover was attributed to attendee’s spending, with an average spend per attendee of £103 locally, in addition to the cost of the ticket price to ABBA Voyage.

• ABBA Voyage has provided employment opportunities for 5,075 workers in London, including those directly connected to the concert and those in other sectors that are supported by ABBA Voyage’s existence (including waiting staff, sales staff, chefs, hotel clerks). 

• 181,674 international visitors contributed £42.72m (36%) of the direct attendee spend in the local area. 

• International visitors contributed 43% (£83.4m) of the direct attendee spend in London - with half a million visitors from outside of London (within the UK) contributing 49% (£96.22m).

Businesses from the local area to benefit included the accommodation sector, restaurants & bars, local transportation, shops and other entertainment establishments.

According to the report, 88% of spending in addition to the ticket was made outside of the ABBA Arena. The average daily spend per attendee in the wider London area was £135.

ABBA Voyage contributed an estimated social value of £24.4m, with £16.5m attributed to attendees from outside London. Of this total, around £2m was generated by ABBA Voyage’s pro-social activities.

The presence of ABBA Voyage is felt in a way that will be enduring

Michael Bolingbroke

Work and job quality benefits generated the largest single amount of social value (£981,000), largely as a result of the jobs the operation has created, along with investment into charitable causes, education and skills, health value and new social connections.

ABBA Voyage employees were some of the biggest beneficiaries of the organisation’s activities, receiving £733,000 worth of social value through positive employment practices. 

Some £265,000 worth of social value was as a result of donations to global and local charities, and fundraising through merchandise sales and donations from profits.

Michael Bolingbroke, CEO/executive producer for ABBA Voyage, said: “The presence of ABBA Voyage is felt in a way that will be enduring. Knowing that in our first full year, the operations of ABBA Voyage has had an economic impact in London of £322 million is extraordinary, and our challenge will be to maintain and grow this number, and to ensure that its effects are long lasting.”

Svana Gisla and Ludvig Andersson, producers for ABBA Voyage, said: “It was imperative to us as producers, and to ABBA, that ABBA Voyage would leave a positive impact on our local community in Stratford and the findings of this report have only surpassed what we could have hoped for. We are proud residents of East London and to be able to employ locally, and enhance the local economy is as joyful to us as the concert itself. We fully intend to continue to evolve our education scheme to provide access and opportunities to young people in our area, and hopefully inspire them to choose the creative sector for their future employment.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The fantastic success of ABBA Voyage shows once again how London is the music capital of the world and is roaring back from the impact of the pandemic. I am so proud that City Hall was able to help ABBA bring this pioneering show to East London, providing huge benefits to both the local area and London's wider economy. 

“It is a powerful example of how culture has a positive impact on our city, supporting jobs and a range of other industries. The show’s success is testament to the group's enduring appeal and I hope it will continue to delight audiences and help enrich the local economy for years to come, as we build a better London for everyone.”  

Lyn Garner, chief executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “ABBA Voyage has been an amazing success for the area and a vibrant addition to the attractions on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This innovative use of our development land has resulted in one of London’s best and most popular visitor attractions with a massive impact on the local economy and jobs. There has been great work on education and skills for local children while the huge footfall and improved lighting have helped to improve community safety, too.”


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