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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-02627: Ash Denham (Edinburgh Eastern)

Scottish National Party

Date lodged: 12 September 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what the economic impact is of the Edinburgh festivals.

Answered by: Fiona Hyslop 28 September 2016

According to the Edinburgh Festivals 2015 Impact Study the Edinburgh Festivals generate £313 million worth of additional tourism revenue for the Scottish economy each year.

The Edinburgh Festivals attract audiences of more than 4.5 million annually - a similar level to the FIFA World Cup, with only the Olympic Games having a bigger audience.

As reported in the Edinburgh Festivals 2015 Impact Study, the total annual economic impact to the city of Edinburgh is £280million. To put this into context the most recent independent economic impact for Golf tourism to Scotland is estimated to be worth £220million annually.

The Edinburgh Festivals lead to new employment opportunities, with the Festivals sustaining 5,660 full-time equivalent jobs in Edinburgh and 6,021 in Scotland (Scotland figure does not include Edinburgh).

Impact Study

The most recent Edinburgh Festivals Impact Study was published on 26 July 2016. The Edinburgh Festivals 2015 Impact Study was written by economic and social researchers BOP Consulting, building on the Impact Study in 2010.

The study was commissioned by the Festivals Forum and funded by the Scottish Government, City of Edinburgh Council, Scottish Enterprise, Creative Scotland and EventScotland.

The study analysed audiences, journalists, delegates, participants, volunteers, temporary staff and teachers at the 12 Edinburgh Festivals which make up Festivals Edinburgh, the strategic umbrella body which takes the lead on the festivals joint direction.

The 12 participating Festivals, in alphabetical order, were:

Edinburgh Art Festival; Edinburgh Festival Fringe; Edinburgh International Book Festival; Edinburgh International Festival; Edinburgh International Film Festival; Edinburgh International Science Festival; Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival; Edinburgh Mela; Edinburgh’s Hogmanay; Imaginate Festival; Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo; Scottish international Storytelling Festival.

Edinburgh Festivals initial statistics show:

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe initial figures show a 7.7% rise in ticket sales to over 2.4 million. They hosted 50,266 performances of 3,269 shows in 294 venues across the city.

EIF played host to over 2,400 artists from 36 nations and attracted audiences from 84 countries. The festival took in over £4million in ticket sales for the first time. Free outdoor concert ‘Deep Time’ had approximately 27,000 people attending.

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo sold out for the 16th year, in record breaking time, with 215,800 tickets sold, generating £9.6million in the box office.

Edinburgh International Book Festival hailed this year’s event as the most successful in its history reporting a 3.5% increase in ticket sales and books sales up by 3% - the highest ever sales in the Book Festival’s 33-year history. They sold 62,000 books in 17 days which is more than many high street book stores sell in an entire year.

The Festivals contributed to increase Edinburgh Airport figures by 12%.