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Edinburgh festivals add $A550m to Scotland

Press AssociationPress Association 26/07/2016 Hilary Duncanson

Edinburgh's year-round festivals generate STG313 million ($A550.33 million) for the Scottish economy, according to a major report on the overall contribution made by the cultural events.

The figure for 2015 represents an increase of 24 per cent on the total recorded five years earlier, with the tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors the main beneficiaries.

The study also found the festivals attract combined audiences of more than STG4.5 million - putting them on a par with the FIFA World Cup - and that they support more than 6,000 Scottish jobs.

The analysis is contained in an independent impact study which was commissioned by Festivals Edinburgh.

Researchers BOP Consulting analysed the overall impact of Edinburgh's 12 festivals and found they, are estimated to have generated STG279.6 million ($A491.60 million) in the city over 2015, an increase of 19 per cent on the 2010 study.

They were worth STG312.6 million ($A549.63 million) to the Scottish economy as a whole last year, up by a quarter from the STG252 million ($A443.08 million) recorded in 2010.

The festivals also supported 5,660 new full-time equivalent jobs in Edinburgh last year, and 6,021 in Scotland, the latter figure representing an increase on the 4,700 recorded five years earlier.

The report also looked at the quality of the experience for festival-goers as well as the events' impact on the city.

Some 92 per cent of those quizzed said the festivals had given them a chance to see something they would not otherwise get to see.

The satisfaction figure among audiences came in at 95 per cent, the highest-rated outcome of the whole study. A total of 89 per cent of local festival-goers said the events increase their pride in the city.

Festivals Edinburgh director Julia Amour said: "This report tells us that the festivals are unparalleled in terms of their quality, in terms of their scale of impact and also in terms of the level of benefits they are returning to local people and businesses.

"We've passed the 4.5 million mark for attendances, which reminds us what an extraordinary world-scale event we have in the capital with our festivals.

"We knew that the ticket sales had gone up by about 20 per cent (in the five-year period) so we were quietly confident that we would be on a growth curve, but to find that the benefit for Scotland as a whole is even stronger than our ticket sales would suggest is a really great result."

The research was based on responses from more than 29,000 people questioned last year. It follows a similar study last conducted in 2010 and published the following year.

Edinburgh's festivals, which run from around Easter to January, are: the International Science Festival, Imaginate Festival, International Film Festival, Jazz and Blues Festival, Art Festival, Festival Fringe, Military Tattoo, International Festival, International Book Festival, Mela, the Scottish International Storytelling Festival and Edinburgh's Hogmanay.

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