After a COVID-induced pause, the University of New England's first on-campus graduation since 2019 is tipped to bring more than $600,000 to the Armidale economy.
About 1000 UNE graduates will receive their testamur - a formal acknowledgement of attainment - over three graduation sessions starting on Friday.
Historically, each graduate is accompanied by an average 2.5 people, often family members wanting to witness their parent, child's or sibling's achievement.
The NSW Government estimates the value of each overnight stay per person at $191. With estimated combined graduation visitor numbers at 3500, this suggests UNE's Autumn 2022 Graduation could inject nearly $670,000 into the local economy over a few days.
UNE is actively encouraging visitors to explore the city and its environs through a new Town with Gown booklet that lists accommodation, eating and visiting options.
"UNE is delighted that its return to business-as-usual will contribute to Armidale's post-COVID economic recovery," Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brigid Heywood, said.
"Since the 1950s, UNE's graduations have each year drawn people to the region and revenue to Armidale."
"Even though the university teaches mostly online, those who have spent years earning their degree often want to travel to Armidale, to 'their' university, to have their achievement recognised in the pomp and occasion of an official graduation ceremony."
Providing there are no more upsets like COVID, UNE will be also holding graduations in August and December 2022.
"It is to be hoped that this weekend's graduation visitor numbers, and their contribution to the city's economy, can be doubled or tripled before the year is out," Prof. Heywood said.
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