Skip to main content

Festivals and events worth £10m to D&G economy

Press Release   •   Aug 18, 2015 09:20 BST

Dumfries and Galloway’s major festivals and events are one of the outstanding success stories of the region. That is the clear message being sent out by the regional partners who are delivering the Council led Major Festivals and Events Strategy 2014-2017.

The investment provided by the Strategy is producing superb economic results from a host of high profile festivals, the Council can report.

The Wigtown Book Festival, Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival, Spring Fling, Big Burns Supper and the Eden Festival are all reporting increasing numbers of visitors and economic impacts for the wider economy. All of these events are becoming stronger financially through the revenues they are securing and the market niches they are carving out within Scotland and the UK.

The funded events of the strategy created a £10m windfall for the region from visitor and events expenditure in 2014, evaluation reports show, and 2015 will create a similar return. The figures demonstrate a superb return on the Council’s annual investment of £250,000 p.a.

The forthcoming International Sheep Dog Trials, September 10-12 at Meikleholm Farm, will see a new influx of 10,000 plus visitors descend upon Annandale and Eskdale this Autumn. These visitors are expected to create a £1m plus spending boost.

Spring Fling, the region wide open artists’ studio weekend continues to be a superb showcase for regional artists and attracts flocks of visitors. The event was worth more than £1.4m to the area this year with enthusiasts spending £262, 940 in the 95 participating studios. More than five and a half thousand people planned a trip to Dumfries and Galloway in May of this year specifically to visit Spring Fling.

Councillor Colin Smyth, the Local Authority’s Events Champion, said:

“The Council’s targeted investment since we adopted the Major Festivals and Events Strategy in November 2013 is developing for our region a rich seam of nationally and internationally significant festivals and events, that are sustainable for the foreseeable future. These events add to our quality of life and help agencies such as VisitScotland successfully market South West Scotland.

"We are fully mindful of the knowledge and skills events organisations in Dumfries and Galloway possess, and which they put to fantastic creative use, and the good fortune we have to benefit from such a strong relationship with agencies such as EventScotland the Holywood Trust.The £10m plus financial windfall for Dumfries and Galloway we are announcing for 2014 demonstrates a superb return on public sector investment from our grant support. The Strategy is a cornerstone of our work to bring economic benefit to the region and to concentrate on activities that develop our economy.

"There are many more great events projects in the pipeline and the Council is determined to make Dumfries and Galloway the best rural location for major festivals and events in Scotland. Our signature events are an outstanding success story for the region.”

VisitScotland Regional Director, Paula McDonald, said:

“The extensive and diverse range of high-quality events and festivals hosted throughout Dumfries & Galloway plays a major part in attracting visitors to the region and showcasing its incredible scenery, inspiring heritage, wonderful attractions and the amazing range of things there are to see and experience here. The value to the region’s tourism industry of a lively, engaging events and festivals programme is huge and we recognise that continued investment in that is critical to continued economic success and growth and are committed to supporting that through EventScotland funding. 

"We are delighted that Dumfries & Galloway Council has measured the impact of the investment made into the 2014 events programme and the superb return which this has achieved, and congratulate the Council and all of the events’ organisers involved who have worked so hard to deliver such great results for Dumfries & Galloway. We look forward to seeing many more successes as the exciting 2015 events calendar continues to roll out.”


Notes to Editors.

The Council monitors the financial, visitor and economic impacts of festivals and events funded through the Major Festivals and Events Strategy, 2014-2017. The very noticeable trend is of visitor growth across a clear majority of events.

Key results include;

Spring Fling has increased its economic impact for the regional economy from £1,084,723 in 2013 to £1,428, 897in 2015. Total visitor numbers to studios increased from 11,948 in 2013 to 13,206 in 2015 and the spend recorded in participating artists’ and craftmakers studios rose from £198,154 to £262,940 in the same two year period.

The Wigtown Book Festival (delivered by the Wigtown Festival Trust) is committed to 7% increases in ticket sales and overall economic impact in the period 2014-2016. It met these targets in 2014 – The Festival attracted 7093 unique ticket purchasing visitors who bought a total of 14, 267 tickets. Visitors are now staying longer in Dumfries and Galloway, up to an average of 3.7 days per visitor coming to the Festival from outwith Dumfries and Galloway. 57% of all ticket purchasing visitors are from outwith the region. The Festival is now responsible for creating an economic impact each year of more than £2.3m.

Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival saw audience numbers rise by a whopping 47% in 2015 – up to 5186 from 3524 in 2014. Total ticket sales rose from £19,229 to £30,379.

Big Burns Supper saw a big increase in ticket sales and economic impact to the regional economy in 2015 and generates £10 for the economy for every £1 of DGC funding – its economic impact in 2015 was £436,000.

The Eden Festival has superb growth potential. In 2015, aided by financial support from the Council, 30% more visitors took in the Festival in comparison to 2014.

The 2014 World Curling Championships in Dumfries created a total economic impact of £894,269 (recorded via an economic impact study conducted by Ekos – an economic development consultancy) and the World Championship Ice Hockey tournaments the Council hosts all create a minimum economic impact of £170,000 to the regional economy – generated by £35,000 of grant expenditure on these World Championships by the Council.

The Council is currently undertaking a joint study with the Wickerman Festival into its economic impacts, growth potential and competitive positioning. Past evidence suggests that the Festival is worth a minimum of £3m per annum to the regional economy and helps attract many thousands of new visitors to our region each year.

Notes to Editors

    • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
    • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
    • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
    • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
      1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
      2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
      3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
      4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
      5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
      6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
      7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
    • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
    • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
    • According to a recent Deloitte study, the tourism economy supports 270,000 jobs in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the tourism      economy contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
    • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
    • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
    • For holiday information on Scotland go to
    • For information about business events in Scotland go to

    Year of Food and Drink 2015

    • 2015 is the Year of Food and Drink, a celebration of Scotland’s natural larder and the role that food and drink plays in shaping our economic success.
    • Scotland generates over £2.5m per day through food and drink tourism.
    • A series of themed months will create an appetite for key areas of Scotland’s food and drink industries – from seafood and whisky to berries and high-quality meat
    • For more information, visit