More than one million people attended Edinburgh’s Christmas and Hogmanay events last year, a new report has said.
Analysis found that there were 929,219 individual visitors to the Christmas events while 183,857 people attended Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.
More than a quarter of people who went to the Hogmanay celebrations were international visitors, 10% were from parts of Scotland outside of Edinburgh and the Lothians, and four in ten were from elsewhere in the UK.
For the Christmas events, more than a third were from the rest of Scotland outside Edinburgh and the Lothians, 19% were from elsewhere in the UK and 13% were international.
Underbelly, which was awarded the contract to run both festivals two years ago, said it has saved the City of Edinburgh Council £2m so far.
The Underbelly report for the 2018/19 festivities said that 771,074 tickets were sold for Christmas rides, attractions and shows while EH postcode holders claimed 186,799 of these using their 20% discount.
Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, directors of Underbelly said: “The Underbelly team continues to be incredibly proud and excited to deliver both Edinburgh’s Christmas and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and we look forward to continuing to work with the Council and Scottish Government and other partners to deliver these world class and world renowned festivals.
“Edinburgh’s Christmas last year saw the biggest take-up of EH discounted tickets and most importantly the largest number of tickets given away to people in Edinburgh through local charities and community groups.
“We are proud that we have sustained the expenditure on Hogmanay while lessening the burden on the public purse, drawing on the commercial success of Edinburgh’s Christmas to cover Hogmanay’s overheads and administration.
“However, while Edinburgh’s Hogmanay remains a resounding success, it is important to note that it can only exist in its current format with regular ongoing public funding.”
Underbelly said that the expenditure budget for Hogmanay has remained at £4m, which it said was the same level as the last year of the previous contract in 2016/17, but that it delivers this with 38% less public funding than was needed in 2016/17.
Public funding now makes up just over a quarter of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay income budget while ticket income contributes 61% and the balance comes from other commercial revenue streams.
Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Edinburgh’s exceptional Christmas and Hogmanay festivals are internationally renowned.
“There is no better place in the world to celebrate the festive season and the Winter Festivals play a key part in our year-round festival offering.
“As well as contributing to the wellbeing of our citizens, they deliver positive economic impact for the city and for Scotland as a whole, benefiting jobs in tourism, hospitality and leisure sectors in particular.
“This report highlights just how much of a success the festivals continue to be.
“As well as welcoming visitors to the city to enjoy everything it has to offer, there has been an increase in residents taking part, with festivities generating £44,000 for charity and £1,176,000 in community benefits.”