National Mod generates £3.5m for Inverness economy

THE ROYAL National Mod generated £3.5million for the Inverness economy – more than £1million above the event target.
The festival was held in the Highland capital last year for the first time since 1997 and attracted 9,000 visitors. Picture: Chris JamesThe festival was held in the Highland capital last year for the first time since 1997 and attracted 9,000 visitors. Picture: Chris James
The festival was held in the Highland capital last year for the first time since 1997 and attracted 9,000 visitors. Picture: Chris James

The festival was held in the Highland capital last year for the first time since 1997 and attracted 9,000 visitors, 78 per cent of which came from outside the host city.

A study carried out by ‘The Market Specialists’ also showed 67 per cent were in Inverness with the sole purpose of attending the nine-day Mod, while 25 per cent lived in the Highland Capital.

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Organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach, the event is the most significant of the Gaelic language in Scotland.

They say the figures are testament to The Mod’s importance, not only to Scotland’s cultural calendar but to its economy as 74 per cent of attendees revealed they would not have taken a trip during that week had it not been for the festival.

The Mòd is hosted in a different town or city every year and this is to not only engage more people in Gaelic culture, but also to boost the local economy.

Findings from the 2014 festival show there was huge return on Highland Council’s investment in the event, with £19 spent for every £1 invested in their governing area and this rose to £25 for every £1 invested at a local level.

The 2014 festivities were a signature event of the Highland Homecoming celebrations and saw the return of Inverness as a host area after 17 years; and its impact was unprecedented.

The city’s hotels, restaurants and shops benefited with 60 per cent of attendees staying in a hotel, guest house, rented accommodation or hostel with the average length of stay for overnight guests being 4.2 days.

A total of 62 per cent of festival goers reported going shopping at least once - 25 per cent on “most days” - while 59 per cent visited pubs at least once - 24 per cent “most days” - and 86 per cent ate out at least once - 55 per cent on “most days”.

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A total of 200 competitions took place during The Mod, while almost 100 Fringe events added to the atmosphere in Inverness.

Workshops, book readings, come and try sessions, concerts and gigs took place morning, noon and night across the Highland Capital.

Visitors came from across Scotland, the UK, Canada and even the United Arab Emirates

The atmosphere saw 61 per cent say the “buzz” of the festival was “well above” or “above” expectations and 59 per cent said Inverness as a host city was also as impressive, with the same percentage indicating that they would definitely come to the city for a future holiday/short break, another 16 per cent said they would possibly do so.

John Morrison, chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach: “We are absolutely delighted with this report, especially as it unveiled 37 per cent of attendees are learning or want to learn Gaelic and we want to see that figure grow.

“It confirms the value of the event and the return it can have for host cities, other funders and commercial sponsors - their support is hugely valued and we need it to continue.

“This return may have been even greater had we received additional funding and we look forward to over-coming the obstacles that make it difficult for, in particular, Creative Scotland to financially back The Mod, as we have never managed to secure their support.”

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He also thanked Highland Council and other sponsors, as well as the volunteers who “worked so hard to make 2014 so special”.

Martin Dorchester, Managing Director of CalMac, the Mod’s principal commercial supporter, said: “We have always recognised that the Mod has a significant economic impact on the areas in which it is held as well as providing a valuable showcase for Gaelic language and culture.

“Everyone involved in the Inverness Mod is to be congratulated for their efforts and will be, I am sure, delighted to know that their hard work has contributed so much to the local economy.”

The Mod 2015 will take place from 9-17 October in Oban and is now in its 123rd year.

The Provost of Inverness, Councillor Alex Graham said: “We were delighted to host the 2014 Royal National Mod in Inverness.

“The outstanding success of this world class event clearly demonstrates the economic benefits of Gaelic as well as highlighting the hugely important cultural and heritage impact for the Highlands.

“Inverness is an ideal location for national events and festivals due to its welcoming nature, its connectivity, its excellent accommodation and hospitality and the flexible range of venues we can offer.

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“This report reinforces the Highland Capital’s capacity to host national and international events and we will work to attract many more to the Highlands.”

Bòrd na Gàidhlig chief executive John Angus MacKay added: “We are pleased that our investment in An Comunn Gàidhealach not only benefits the Gaelic Language, but also creates major economic benefits wherever the Mod goes.

“This further highlights the proven social and economic benefits of Gaelic as illustrated by research which we jointly funded with HIE, demonstrating that the language has a calculated potential value of between £81.6m to £148.5m a year to the Scottish economy.”

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said The Royal National Mod was one of the highlights of the annual portfolio of cultural events.

He added: “This study underlines its importance to the visitor economy. The event attracts huge numbers of visitors every year, which injects money into local businesses and communities across the country.”