Edinburgh Festivals 'worth one quarter of a billion pounds'

THE value of the Edinburgh festivals season to Scotland's econnomy has been put at £261 million.

A report, published today, looked at the economic contribution of the world-famous programme of events, including comedy, opera, ballet, science and literature.

It found the city's 12 major festivals are now worth more to the country than the 191 million value of golf tourism.

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The report, commissioned by Festivals Edinburgh, is the largest programme of research ever undertaken into the capital's cultural events, involving 15,000 survey responses over a twelve-month period.

It showed that most of the money remains in Edinburgh, with the city's economy benefiting by 245 million.

The results of the Edinburgh Festivals Impact Study showed the cash generated sustains the equivalent of 5,242 full-time jobs.

The report said around 37% of the visitor expenditure goes to hotels and guesthouses, with 34% to food and drink establishments, 6% to retailers and 9% on transport.

Festivals Edinburgh chair Kath Mainland added: "This substantial new report firmly establishes Edinburgh as the world's leading festival city and provides clear evidence that the most attractive aspect of the festivals for our audiences is the quality, range and diversity of what we offer.

"The combination of our distinctive world-class festivals is key to attracting both local and visiting audiences.

"Without this unique offering, the festivals would not make the much-envied economic, cultural and social contribution to Edinburgh and Scotland that we currently do."