Edinburgh’s Festivals attracted audiences of more than 4.5 million in 2015, putting them on a par with the FIFA World Cup.
Only the Olympic Games attract bigger crowds.
The Edinburgh Festivals 2015 Impact Study produced by BOP Consulting said the events are world-leading cultural brands and “economic powerhouses” that generated £280 million in Edinburgh and £313 million in Scotland last year, an increase of 19% and 24% respectively on a previous study in 2010.
The latest study surveyed 29,000 people and confirmed the huge contribution Edinburgh’s Festivals make “to the quality of life, international reputation and economic vitality of Edinburgh and Scotland.”
The 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.
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, said: “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.”