Christmas event discount attracts Capital families

A total of 3.6 million people visited the Christmas attractions. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
A total of 3.6 million people visited the Christmas attractions. Picture: Malcolm McCurrach
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More than one in ten Lothian residents took advantage of the EH postcode discount at this season’s Edinburgh Christmas as record numbers enjoyed its attractions.

Around one in five of all tickets were sold with the residents 20 per cent discount as an unprecedented 3.6 million people visited the Winter Wonderland site over its six-week run.

Ticket sales for key landmarks – such as the Star Flyer, carousel, Big Wheel and Santa Land – rocketed by more than 40 per cent on last year, with more than half-a-million entries to the ice rink and amusement rides, organisers Underbelly announced today.

Festival leaders hailed a 37 per cent rise in visitors and said it would prove a big boost to city centre businesses.

Councillor Steve Cardownie, Edinburgh’s festivals and events champion, said this year’s programme had been “bigger and better”.

“I’m pleased so many local people have benefited from the discount we launched,” he said.

“These results just go to prove there is no place that can beat Edinburgh at Christmas.”

The discount was introduced for the first time this year following widespread complaints from Evening News readers about the cost of the attractions the previous year.

Last year’s Christmas events were Fringe promoter Underbelly’s debut running the festival and an otherwise successful year was marred by gripes about the cost of rides and food and drink.

In September, Underbelly announced a 20 per cent discount for locals, alongside cut-price family tickets, which have proved extremely popular.

Andy Neal, chief executive of Essential Edinburgh, hailed the “fantastic event”.

He said: “This year’s figures demonstrate the great value that high-quality events bring to the city centre and the businesses there, with large numbers of people coming to the area to take part.

“It is also good to note that many of these were local people using special discounted prices.”

Charlie Wood, co-founder of Underbelly, said: “We are obviously thrilled – over half a million people bought tickets for attractions at Edinburgh’s Christmas.

“We set out to make Edinburgh’s Christmas one of the world’s best places to be at Christmas time and these figures show that we’re on our way to achieving that.

“It is also gratifying to note that almost one in five of the tickets sold was at a special discount offered to local families – showing that we listened to concerns from the previous year and helped deliver a Christmas celebration for the residents of Edinburgh.”