THE economic impact of major festivals to Edinburgh has been underlined by a new report that has found the capital’s Christmas events generated £113m last year. Book your Edinburgh Airport taxis on 0800-6190575 .
Underbelly, the major Fringe producers who also manage the Christmas festival and Hogmanay, said last year’s events – which include an ice rink, a market, a city centre fair and other attractions – drew 919,344 visitors.
Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: “More than 1.8 million people passed through Edinburgh Airport last November and December and we expect to see that rise this year.”
Over the six week run, the Christmas festival grew its audience by 3.7%, which was up from 886,651 visitors the previous year, a report by BOP Consulting has found.
Underbelly recently released an impact assessment, by the same company, for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay which showed an economic impact for Edinburgh from the festival in 2017/18 of £39m.
Footfall to Edinburgh’s Christmas three main sites was counted at 4.653m.
The centre of the city is transformed during the festival, with attractions, rides, food markets and a big wheel taking up Princes Street Gardens and St Andrew Square.
More than 771,000 tickets were bought for Edinburgh’s Christmas rides, attractions and shows last year.
The majority of the attendees were from outside Edinburgh and the Lothian area.
Of the 65% who came from outside the capital, around seven per cent came from 47 different countries including Australia, Ireland, USA, Holland, Spain, Canada, France, Germany and New Zealand.
Last year was the fifth year of Underbelly produced Edinburgh’s Christmas for the City of Edinburgh Council.
Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of Underbelly, said: “It’s fantastic to get this independent research and to read its finding of the vast economic impact that Edinburgh’s Christmas brings to the city and to Scotland.
“We’re very proud that Edinburgh’s Christmas is now firmly on the map as a global winter destination with sky high levels of customer satisfaction and return visits, and visitors who consistently rate the event as their major reason for coming to Edinburgh.
“The research shows that the event supports thousands of jobs in the city but it’s great to see how many residents also come and enjoy its attractions.”
The Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, Frank Ross, said: “Over 142,333 tickets were snapped up last year by Edinburgh residents with their 20% discount, and 69% of citizens said Edinburgh’s Christmas was the main or only reason they came into the city centre that day.”
Roddy Smith, the chief executive of Essential Edinburgh, said: “Edinburgh’s Christmas delivers huge footfall gains and economic impact for the city centre every year and we expect this year, especially with Silent Light – with its combination of spectacle and fun – to be no different.
“We are delighted to be a partner in the creation of what promises to be the most fun and exciting attraction yet for George Street this Christmas.
“2017 was fantastic for the city centre and we are looking forward the attractions this year.”