Why Festivals Now Beat the Fairways

Article excerpt

Byline: Kevin O'Sullivan

EDINBURGH'S festivals boosted the Scottish economy by [pounds sterling]261million last year, it was revealed yesterday.

And it means the world-acclaimed events, including the International Festival itself, the booming Fringe and the Military Tattoo, now generate more cash than golf.

Revenue from the annual arts, literary and culture spectacles has risen by 42 per cent in recent years, the Edinburgh Festivals Impact Study, commissioned by the heads of the city's 12 main festivals, has found.

The largest research programme into the capital's cultural events involving 15,000 surveys, showed tourist spending has shot up by [pounds sterling]77million since 2004.

According to the study, money received from tourism at Scotland's celebrated golfing venues, including Gleneagles in Perthshire, and St Andrews in Fife, was a comparative [pounds sterling]191million in 2010.

Kath Mainland, chairman of Festivals Edinburgh and chief executive of the Festival Fringe, welcomed the benefit brought by the festivals to hotels, shops, leisure facilities and transport.

She said: 'It is a really valuable report, and we are delighted with the headline figures. This clearly shows that the festivals are enormously important to Scotland and to Edinburgh as its capital city. 'While the biggest festivals have the biggest economic impact, it comes through clearly in the research that it is the range on offer, and all of these worldclass festivals together, that people love.' Some of the money generated included [pounds sterling]90.6million to Edinburgh's hotels and guest houses, [pounds sterling]83.3million to food and drink operators and [pounds sterling]36.75million to entertainment providers.

Transport firms pocketed [pounds sterling]22million while retailers took in [pounds sterling]14. …