New survey showcases Edinburgh Festivals as cultural and economic powerhouses

The largest programme of research undertaken into Edinburgh’s twelve major Festivals confirms their far-reaching impact on local life, the international reputation of the city and the economy.

Commissioned by Festivals Edinburgh, the 2015 Edinburgh Festivals Impact Study assessed the economic impact of the 12 major public events in the capital and found that they attract audiences of more than 4.5 million, putting them on par The World Cup and second only to the Olympic Games. It also addressed the festivals economically, reporting a generated £280m in Edinburgh and £313m for businesses and tourism in Scotland last year, which is an increase of 19% and 24% since the previous study in 2010.

Donald Smith, Director of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, has welcomed the findings and stated: “The great news here is that Edinburgh’s Festivals are delivering for Scotland economically and creatively. The capital city is truly a cultural powerhouse.” 

Surveying 29,000 people, the 2015 Impact Study showed that Edinburgh’s Festivals serve as tourism gateways, with more nights spent elsewhere in Scotland by festival audiences than in the 2010 study; that they 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; and that they create a sense of civic pride: 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.

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.”

The full study is available to download here: