New research endorses the value of Edinburgh’s festivals to the local and national economy

Edinburgh’s 12 major festivals generated more than £250m of additional tourism revenue for Scotland in 2010, according to the findings of the largest programme of research ever undertaken into the impact of Edinburgh’s year-round Festivals. As well as documenting the financial returns from the festivals, the report describes and quantifies their effect on locals, visitors, young people, artists, the economy and the environment. Eighty-two per cent of visitors said that the festivals were their sole or an important reason for coming to Scotland, and a similar proportion said that the festivals would make them more likely to revisit Edinburgh in the future. Eighty-five per cent agreed that the festivals promote a “confident, positive Scottish national identity” and 89% of local people feel that the festivals give them pride in their home city. Equally positive were reactions to the arts: 77% of audiences said they had discovered new talent and genres through the festivals, and nearly two-thirds said that the festivals had encouraged them to take risks and see less well-known performances, events or films.

The Edinburgh Festivals Impact Study findings have been drawn from a survey of 15,000 people over a 12-month period, and is the first update of figures since the last economic impact evaluation back in 2004. The results also show that the festivals sustain 5,242 full-time equivalent jobs, and although they generate over 4m attendances every year, most of the total economic benefit to the region comes through other businesses, including hotels, retailers, restaurants and transport providers.