The 2023 edition of EXIT Festival brought a substantial economic boost to Novi Sad and Serbia, contributing an additional €21.2 million. This increase raises the festival’s total economic impact since its inception to nearly €250 million. This data comes from TIM Center in Novi Sad, which conducts annual surveys during the festival, focusing on the demographics of attendees from Serbia, the region, and abroad, as well as economic indicators and tourism contributions.
Equally significant to its multi-million-euro impact on Serbia’s economy is the festival’s international promotion of Novi Sad and Serbia. This promotion, which spans the duration of the festival and the periods before and after the event, holds invaluable worth. For over two decades, visitors, performers, and prestigious global media outlets have spread the incredible experiences they’ve had at Petrovaradin Fortress around the world. These experiences highlight the extraordinary hospitality and collaboration, the unique festival location, the high level of organization, the quality of the music program, and the tourist attractions and beauty of Novi Sad and Serbia.
This July, EXIT was visited by over 200,000 people from 120 countries. According to the TIM Center study, 36.7% of these visitors were in Novi Sad for the first time, and 65% were not from Serbia. An impressive 83.5% of respondents stated they visited specifically for the festival, underscoring EXIT’s role in positioning Novi Sad and Serbia on the global tourism map.
The largest groups of international visitors hailed from Austria, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and France. From the regional perspective, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Slovenia led the pack. This year, 46.6% of attendees were first-time visitors to Petrovaradin Fortress, and notably, the number of locals from Novi Sad attending the festival nearly doubled compared to the previous year.
During the festival, visitors to Novi Sad and Serbia spent an average of €567 each, marking an 18-euro increase from the previous edition. Tourists from Western Europe spent an average of €873, up by €52 from last year, while visitors from Eastern Europe averaged €624. Non-European visitors led the spending with an average of €893 per person.
The average age of survey participants was 25.5, nearly identical to last year’s 25.7. Highly educated individuals, including students, comprised 77% of the audience, consistent with the previous edition. Among the attendees, 56% were employed, and 35% were students. The top five favorite stages included Gorki List Main Stage, mts Dance Arena, Visa Fusion, Latino Stage by IDEA, and Explosive.
Like previous editions, this year’s festival emphasized the importance of mental health, with messages of support and empowerment displayed throughout Petrovaradin Fortress. This was complemented by the activities of the SRCE Center and the initiation of “Life Is Live” campaign.” Conversations with visitors highlighted issues related to mental health and digital addiction. Significantly, 81% of respondents felt that EXIT positively impacted their mental health. The survey revealed that attendees used their phones for an average of 4.6 hours per day, highlighting the need for increased awareness of digital addiction, an issue EXIT plans to continue addressing.
The research was conducted by the Novi Sad-based “TIM Center,” using a representative sample of 1,393 EXIT visitors during the festival. Only ticket-holding visitors were surveyed, excluding anyone employed at the festival.