It’s the world’s biggest arts festival and new research also suggests that the Edinburgh Festival creates a bigger commercial opportunity than Christmas for the city’s food and beverage businesses in terms of consumer spend.
Analysis by location planning company CACI looked at how patterns of behaviour change during major tourism events such as the Edinburgh International Festival and Edinburgh Fringe, which attracted 3.2 million people combined in 2018.
Edinburgh’s catchment area triples during the festivals, with people travelling from across the UK. While spending by tourists and residents at Christmas is higher than during the festivals – £72 versus £112 and £83 versus £58 respectively – it is the ability of the festivals to attract such large volumes of tourists that creates the additional effect.
Food and beverage spend increases significantly during the festivals driven by tourists, who spend an average of £14 compared with £11 by residents. Tourists are also more likely to consume food and drink, with a 36% conversion rate versus 27% for residents.
CACI director Alex McCulloch said, “The significance of the findings goes beyond Edinburgh as they demonstrate the value for cities, and indeed the owners and managers of destinations in cities, of embracing culturally rich and diverse events.”