Recession has mixed effect on Edinburgh tourism

By Richard Morgan

Nearly a month after the close of Edinburgh’s Fringe festival, the figures are in, and, once again, records have been broken. However, this was not the case for all tourist attractions.

Figures released, which claimed that two million tickets had been sold, a 5% rise from 2009, blasted critics who suggested that the festival would suffer due to the recession. This could possibly sway the planned budget cuts for the coming year’s festival. However, it has been revealed that, tickets given free to visitors, were included in the numbers, possibly suggesting that the festival did not do as well. Fringe spokesman, Neil MacKinnon defended this decision, saying that: “We’ve been quite consistent with our methodology in adding up figures at the Fringe, and we have no plans to change that. Despite this, visitor numbers on an annual basis are still rising, with Paul Allison, a senior insight analyst for Visit Scotland, stating, “Visitor numbers have risen by 118% in the past ten years.”

Despite the Fringe’s apparent success, Edinburgh Zoo has suffered at the hands of the recession during this festival season. Claire Richardson, a press officer for the zoo, told me that “visitor numbers had fallen by 10% this season” but went on to defend this due to possible adverse weather conditions. She continued that the “Three yearly budget did not leave room for this.” The zoo did not wish to comment further.

The mixed affects of the recession this year will not be fully apparent until a full list of figures are released in early 2011 and with the current results, it is not clear what these will reveal.

One of the many free shows being included in the ticket count.