[image-1]Counting travel, tickets, food, shopping, and lodging, the average Charleston Wine + Food guest spent $823 at this year’s festival — down from last year’s $933. However, according to CofC’s annual Attendee Survey Results and the five-day festival’s Annual Report, the 23,462 guests still outpaced last year’s spending contributing a $9.6 million economic impact this year, up from last year’s $9.1 million.

So who are these people pumping money into Charleston’s economy with every bite of festival eats? According to CofC’s Attendee Survey that polled 4,461 and received 1,466 responses, they’re wealthy, educated women in their early 40s who like food — 34 percent of whom make $200,000 or more. And 49 percent of them are from out-of-town.

That should come as no surprise. Out-of-town attendees have been increasing over the years. Last year only 56 percent of festival guests identified as local. This year it was 51 percent.

But those visitors were happy ones by reporting accounts. Ninety-two percent said they would visit Charleston again in the next three years, while 81.5 percent plan to return for the festival itself where they can once again enjoy the 1,734 limes, 9,180 bottles of wine, and 2,200 pounds of barbecue served this year.