Cancellation of Edinburgh's Christmas market will cost economy £88.4 million, research claims

Cancellation of this year’s Christmas market will cost the Edinburgh economy an estimated £88.4 million, a study has claimed.

The annual city-centre festive attraction was called off because of the Covid-19 pandemic, although local traders have Christmas stalls in Castle Street from today, selling arts and crafts, gifts, food and drink.

Edinburgh is not the only city which has been forced to cancel crowd-pulling seasonal events. New research by printing company Where The Trade Buys analyses ten of the top Christmas markets in the UK and estimates that together their cancellation will mean an £882m loss for the UK economy.

The study combines visitor numbers with the average spend per per person to work out how much each city will lose.

This year's Christmas market has been called off because of the pandemic

It suggests Edinburgh’s economy will £88.4m the poorer.

Culture convener Donald Wilson said the figure was not a surprise.

"The impact of the pandemic, as well as being disastrous on a personal level for those affected, has also been disastrous for the economy. And the economic impact will be felt for decades.”

And he said the impact on Edinburgh should not be underestimated.

"The economic foundation of the city is based on visitors and festivals and the Christmas market has been an important element of that.”

Earlier this month, councillors gave the go-ahead for next year’s Christmas Market, which will see stalls relocated from East Princes Street Gardens to The Mound, although he Big Wheel and Star Flyer attractions will be located on the top level of the gardens close to the Scott Monument.

A decision on proposals for further stalls in the High Street and Parliament Square was postponed due to concerns over the length of time Cockburn Street would be closed and the impact on disabled parking access.

Councillor Wilson said it was his “greatest wish” that things would be back to normal by this time next year. "We can never take anything for granted but the signs look very good that next year will be a journey out of this. And in Edinburgh we have to plan for how we get back to what has been such a fantastic economy for the city.”

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