Investment is vital for festivals in Edinburgh
As the dust settles on a record breaking festival summer in Edinburgh, there is a real sense of pride both locally and nationally for our capital city. Collaboration across all key business sectors is instrumental in helping us achieve a world class experience for locals, national and international visitors.
Edinburgh Airport had the busiest August on record with over one million passengers, many of whom were here to enjoy the festivals and add a visit to other great attractions across Scotland. And the Forth Ports Cruise team welcomed over 18,000 cruise passengers in August as our festivals continue to attract even more liners at this time of year. The Queen Margaret University-led Student Tourism Ambassador Roles (STARS) were also a great success, welcoming over 10,000 visitors to Edinburgh while providing valuable tourism information to participants. The collaboration across business, education and our festivals means we continue to explore new opportunities as well as ensure we celebrate our proud historic past.
Edinburgh is home to the world’s first science festival, a city that is acknowledged globally for leading scientific and medical innovation. Similarly, the world’s largest book festival is held in our capital city, supported by a vast historical tradition of writing and publishing that has lead to Edinburgh becoming the first UNESCO city of literature. Whilst there are many other examples of leadership and success, as a market leader when it comes to festivals, we are undoubtedly under scrutiny from many international cities who aim to build their own international profile. The economic benefits of the festivals are felt right across Scotland both in the public and private sector through the creation of jobs, a magnet for tourists and a platform to promote the whole of Scotland.
As we move closer to the Festival’s 70th anniversary, it is essential that we continue to invest in and develop the supporting infrastructure for our festivals. We are already benefiting from significant investment by the private sector, for example in accommodation and transport connectivity. This support is greatly appreciated and we must ensure that our planning processes continue to take account of the full economic benefits of attracting inward investment from major brands that are making choices between competing cities across the globe.
We must also continue to promote and support the need for a much improved digital infrastructure. We must continuously improve and invest in digital connectivity and organisations such as the Chamber of Commerce will help to facilitate and support much needed developments, particularly in this vital area for growth. As we say goodbye to another great festival summer and welcome back our students who will no doubt contribute to helping continue a party atmosphere, we are now getting ready for Scotland’s New Year Festival with tickets already on sale for “Edinburgh’s Hogmanay”