Winter Equestrian Festival Spurred $352 Million in Economic Impact for Palm Beach County and Supported Over 3,300 Jobs in 2023

By Austin Lee

Winter Equestrian Festival, one of the world’s most popular equestrian shows, generated $352 million in economic impact across Palm Beach County and more than 3,300 total jobs in 2023, according to a new economic study.

In 2023, the comprehensive study on WEF, a cornerstone of Palm Beach County’s economic landscape for nearly half a century, revealed noteworthy contributions:

  • The overall impact of WEF on Palm Beach County’s economic health was substantial, injecting a significant $351.7 million into the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2023.
  • WEF proudly holds the title of the world’s largest annual equestrian competition, attracting nearly 7,000 horses from 42 countries and all 50 US states.
  • Direct horse expenditures amounted to $158.4 million. These expenditures include stabling, feed, training, supplements, and paid local horse transportation among other items.
  • The festival’s economic influence translated into the creation of 3,364 jobs, fostering labor earnings amounting to over $103 million.
  • Nonresident participants played a pivotal role in supporting the local lodging industry, contributing to the generation of 143,755 paid room nights.

The study, which the Palm Beach County Sports Commission commissioned, provides results based on surveys collected during the 2023 edition of WEF.

“I am thrilled by the work the Palm Beach County Sports Commission has done for many years to support the Winter Equestrian Festival and the benefits it has generated for our residents. WEF has helped establish Palm Beach County as the number one destination for equestrian sports and has generated meaningful economic impact for our residents and business community,” said George Linley, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.

In 2024, WEF, which is once again taking place at Wellington International (formerly the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center), is scheduled from January 3 – March 31, 2024. Participants will compete in jumpers, hunters, and dressage classifications with prize money exceeding $13 million. In addition to Olympic-caliber competition, WEF hosts the nation’s premier competition for children, juniors, adults, and amateurs; for riders from 6 to 70 years old in more than 55 unique divisions of competition.