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Article published 28/06/2023

Unique Edinburgh Festivals programmes strengthen recovery

Independent research published by Festivals Edinburgh confirms the huge contribution that Edinburgh’s Festivals make to the economic vitality of Edinburgh and Scotland.

The latest study – conducted across the festivals in 2022 and surveying 22,000 people – shows that the Edinburgh Festivals continue to be Scotland’s world-leading cultural brands.

These unrivalled cultural programmes deliver a major economic uplift to businesses, jobs and livelihoods in the city and further afield. They help to rebuild sectors devastated by the pandemic and an especially important boost during the cost-of-living crisis, with the Festivals themselves having a stronger focus on fair work and local suppliers.

Read the full impact report

Edinburgh international festival

Edinburgh illuminated during the festival period

Key findings from the study

  • Edinburgh Festivals are world leading cultural brands
  • 3.2 million attendances generated by around 700,000 attendees
  • Remain on a par with FIFA World Cup [3.4 million], despite reduced scale in 2022
  • Edinburgh Festivals are increasing economic powerhouses
  • Economic impact increased in Edinburgh from £280 million [2015] to £407 million [2022]
  • Economic impact increased in Scotland from £313 million [2015] to £367 million [2022]
  • Edinburgh Festivals are important drivers in the national economy
  • Proportion of non-Scottish staying visitors increased from 25% [2015] to 31% [2022]


  • Spend by non-Scottish staying visitors increased from £95 million [2015] to £137 million [2022]
  • Impact supported 5,000 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs across Scotland
  • Edinburgh Festivals provide crucial support to city jobs and livelihoods
  • Impact created 5,850 FTE jobs in Edinburgh [5,650 in 2015]
  • 51% of spend on accommodation (c£85 million), 25% on food & drink (c£42 million) and a further 19% on shopping (c£31 million)
  • Edinburgh Festivals offer incredible value for money
  • Generate £33 in economic impact for every £1 invested from the public purse

Key stats from the report

1.5 million

Attendance by residents of Edinburgh / Scotland (50% of total audience)

£492 million

Contribution to Edinburgh in gross impact

£620 million

Contribution to Scotland in gross impact

7,150 FTE jobs

supported in Edinburgh

8,500 FTE Jobs

supported in Scotland


Audience spend has doubled from across Scotland since the last report

Edinburgh’s world-renowned festivals not only connect people and ideas at local, national and international levels, but they are central to how the rest of the world views us. They are outward-looking and a vital part of Scotland’s wide-ranging portfolio of signature events, strengthening the country’s position as a world-leading events destination.  

The study reinforces the outstanding contribution they make to Scotland’s culture, economy and place in the world, and the important role they play in our communities, enabling us all to connect, enjoy and share authentic memorable experiences. Their impact extends far beyond the events themselves, bringing benefits to the wider tourism and hospitality ecosystem, and providing crucial support to jobs and livelihoods.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events

Edinburgh Festivals are internationally renowned, attracting visitors from around the world to experience the music, comedy and performing arts against the backdrop of our amazing capital city.

This study highlights the immense importance of Edinburgh Festivals to Scottish tourism. The impact of Edinburgh Festivals spreads far beyond the event itself, benefiting our economy, communities and enhancing the wellbeing and creativity of our people.

Events are an important driver for tourism, supporting businesses and jobs and contribute significantly to the local economy all of which in turn helps to support the continued recovery of our industry. VisitScotland is focused on building a destination and visitor experience which allows tourism and events to flourish now and in the future.

Neil Christison, VisitScotland Regional Director

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