Quality of events and record numbers drive world leading status

28 July 2016

Independent research published today (26 July 2016) confirms the huge contribution that Edinburgh’s Festivals make to the quality of life, international reputation and economic vitality of Edinburgh and Scotland.

The latest study, which surveyed 29,000 people, shows that Edinburgh’s Festivals continue to be Scotland’s world-leading cultural brands, delivering significant attendance numbers through their unrivalled cultural programmes.

Key findings from the study show that Edinburgh’s Festivals:

  • Attract audiences of more than 4.5 million putting them on a par with the FIFA World Cup, both being second to the Olympic Games
  • Act as economic powerhouses generating impact of £280m in Edinburgh and £313m in Scotland, representing an increase of 19% and 24% respectively on the previous 2010 study, and primarily benefiting businesses in the tourism sector
  • Serve as tourism gateways, with more nights spent elsewhere in Scotland by festival audiences than in the 2010 study
  • Position the city region as a leading international destination with 94% of respondents stating that the Festivals are part of what makes Edinburgh special as a city
  • Present unique cultural experiences with 92% of respondents stating that the Festivals were ‘must see’ events that gave them the chance to see things they would not otherwise see
  • Play a crucial role in year-round audience development, with 68% of respondents stating that attending the Festivals made them more likely to attend another cultural event
  • Create a sense of civic pride with 89% of local festival goers agreeing that the Festivals increased their pride in Edinburgh as a city, reinforcing the findings of the recent Edinburgh People Survey
  • Deliver quality professional Festivals, with satisfaction ratings of 95% - being the highest rated outcome in the entire study.

Commissioned by Edinburgh’s Festivals, the 2015 Impact Study was produced by leading international specialists BOP Consulting and builds on the 2010 Impact Study. Research for the Impact Study took place during the calendar year 2015, starting with the Edinburgh International Science Festival and concluding at Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. A total of 29,273 people took part in the study, nearly twice as many as in the previous 2010 Edinburgh Festivals Impact Study.

Introducing the Study, Richard Naylor, Director of Research at BOP consulting said 

The scale of the 2015 Edinburgh Festivals Impact Study makes it one of the most statistically significant studies in the cultural world and the results continue to show that Edinburgh’s Festivals have an impact commensurate to their world leading festival city status.

The Study states that ‘the continued quality and innovation of the core cultural offer of the Festivals lies at the heart of any wider impact they have’ and shows that the economic impact in particular has primarily benefited businesses in the tourism sector, especially accommodation and food & drink businesses.

Julia Amour, Director of Festivals Edinburgh said: 

The Impact Study tells us that the Festivals’ unique resilience and the increasing value they deliver is based on the artistic vision, ambition and programmes of the individual festivals. Continued investment in these programmes is crucial to driving our impacts and ensuring that our distinctive cultural offering remains the envy of cities around the world.

Ken Hay, Chair of Festivals Edinburgh commented: 

As we look ahead to 2017 and the 70th anniversary of the birth of our festival city, these impacts reinforce Edinburgh’s world leading status. The 2015 Impact Study shows that the Edinburgh Festivals represent Scotland at its most confident, its most open and its most creative. They are distinctively Scottish and yet profoundly international, committed to capitalising on their enormous global value for the benefit of all.

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