In numbers: Edinburgh Festival and Fringe 2019

The chief executive of the Fringe Society has warned Edinburgh is at risk of being seen as ‘anti-tourist,' in the wake of campaigners raising concerns about the impact of festivals and events on the city.

Wednesday, 5th June 2019, 8:04 pm
Aerial artist Blaise Donald is performing at the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe

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Edinburgh is in danger of becoming an 'anti-tourist' city, Fringe chief warns

Shona McCarthy hit back at critics of what is claimed to be a growing “festivalisation” and “exploitation” of the city centre for major events, describing some of the criticisms that had been raised as “a bit weird”.

She insisted the Fringe should not be held responsible for the management of tourism numbers in the city centre, but warned the city’s welcoming reputation was “seriously in danger” due to an ongoing debate about the impact of the industry.

It has emerged that the number of performers appearing at the event had almost doubled in size in the space of a decade and is set to attract a three million-strong audience for the first time this summer if recent growth trends continue this August.

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Here are the key numbers for the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe 2019;

3841: Total number of shows

323: Total number of venues

59,600: Total number of performances

63: Countries represented in the programme

2093: Premieres

706: Free shows

404: Pay-what-you-want shows

963: Shows made in Scotland

744: Shows made in Edinburgh

206: Shows from mainland Europe

A record 3841 shows will be staged this year - up eight per cent on last year’s tally - with the number of performances up five per cent to almost 60,000, compared to 31,000 in 2008.

The Fringe programme was launched against a growing backdrop of debate about the impact of events and tourism on the historic heart of the city. Edinburgh World Heritage and the Cockburn Association are among the organisations who have warned the city is at risk of suffering the same over-tourism problems as Venice, Barcelona and Amsterdam.

In March, Pete Irvine, one of Scotland’s leading tourism, festival and event experts, warned that Edinburgh was already in the grip of “over-tourism.” A new campaign to “defend” Edinburgh against "exploitation and festivalisation," launched in April, declaring that it had been allowed to become “a city of capital disfigured by exploitation” and a “theme park.”