More people than ever attended shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year.
By Monday afternoon, with hundreds of performances still to take place, an estimated 2,696,884 tickets had been issued for shows at the Fringe.
That is the highest ever number of tickets — and a 9% increase compared to the same stage last year.
There were 53,232 performances of 3,398 shows in 300 venues across Edinburgh.
Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs said: “The Fringe contributes strongly to Scotland’s culture and economy and is key to the growth of our tourism and creative industries.”
Shona McCarthy, chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “This has been a very special year for the Fringe as we celebrated 70 years of defying the norm, 70 years of the greatest melting pot of arts and culture anywhere on the planet, and 70 years of Edinburgh as an internationally renowned festival city.
“The Fringe continues to play an essential role in the worldwide arts community, enabling artists to showcase their work, reach new audiences and make new connections.
“I hope that everyone that has attended a show, watched a street performance, or spent time in one of the hundreds of venues around the city has enjoyed their Fringe experience.
“In the current climate of global uncertainty, we were delighted to see an increase of 29% in the number of countries represented in this year’s Fringe Programme.
“We will continue to work to support global engagement and international participation in the Fringe over the coming years.
“As the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe draws to a close, we look forward to another 70 years of championing the world’s largest platform for creative freedom.”