SCOTLAND’S economy is benefiting to the tune of £280 million a year from “music tourism,” new research has found.
More than 2000 full-time jobs were supported by the 720,000 foreign and domestic visitors to festivals and major concerts across the country last year.
“Our rich musical heritage and infrastructure has made the UK the go-to destination for live music globally”Jo Dipple
And the average overseas visitor spent £724 a head during their trip to Scotland, according to the research, which was commissioned by the industry body UK Music.
It revealed that the number of music tourists coming into the UK had increased by more than a third in just three years.
The advent of the new SSE Hydro arena in Glasgow, which opened in September 2013, helped boost the number of music tourists in Scotland to 520,000 last year.
However despite being responsible for 200,000 music tourists, the country’s music festivals were much more valuable, generating £155 million out of the overall total. Visitors attending festivals such as T in the Park, Wickerman, Belladrum and Hebcelt were responsible for supporting 1196 jobs, while concerts sustained a further 885.
The Oxford Economics research, which found that music tourism contributed £3.1 billion to the UK in 2014, up from £2.5 billion in 2011, only considered concerts and events with a capacity of more than 1500. Festivals were only included if music was the main attraction.
Jo Dipple, chief executive of UK Music, said: “Our rich musical heritage and infrastructure has made the UK the go-to destination for live music globally. These statistics show that tourism is now a bedrock of British music and the wider economy.”
Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “These fantastic figures show the key role music tourism plays in Scotland’s visitor economy, with our range of superb venues and top acts encouraging thousands of people to come here and enjoy a concert or festival.
“The ripple effect of music tourism means accommodation and transport providers, restaurants and bars are just a few of the other sectors that also benefit.”
Ian Smith, head of music at national arts agency Creative Scotland, said: “The results of this critically important consultation show that Scotland has a pre-eminent place in the value chain for cultural tourism and in the case of this study, music tourism.
“It shows clearly that Scotland’s music and musicians play a vital role in the economy of this country and the brand of Scotland’s music has never been stronger on a global scale as evidenced by events such as T in the Park, Celtic Connections and the Edinburgh International Festival joined by exciting newcomers, such as Counterflows, Tectonics and Sonica.”