Two weeks into the city’s winter festival and figures show Edinburgh’s Christmas to be more popular than ever before.
Residents have taken advantage of the 20 percent discount with 26,000 tickets sold – a 45 percent increase on this time last year.
Santa Land, the Big Wheel, the Star Flyer and the extensive European Market at East Princes Street Gardens has already been visited by 485,000 people, a lift of 9 percent on the first two weeks of 2015.
The ice rink in St Andrew Square which circles around the Melville Monument is also proving hugely popular with 13,606 tickets already snapped up, a 40 percent rise on the combined numbers across Princes Street Gardens and St Andrew Square ice rinks.
With still almost a month of performances to go, 213,000 tickets – 10,000 more than in 2015 – have already been issued for Street of Light on George Street.
Visitors are flocking to the city with bookings from 55 countries outside the UK including Costa Rica, Denmark, Hong Kong, Iceland, Philippines, Turkey and Uruguay.
Charlie Wood, director of Edinburgh’s Christmas, said: “It’s fantastic to see so many people enjoying Edinburgh’s Christmas and spending time in the city centre with their family and friends. I’ve met people from all over the world enjoying the markets, the attractions and the Street of Light. It’s great to see Edinburgh providing such a warm welcome and attracting people to this city in winter.”
John Donnelly, Chief Executive, Marketing Edinburgh said: Thanks to the huge variety of retailers, exciting Christmas entertainment and excellent food and drink venues, all set within a UNESCO World Heritage, recognised as one of the most beautiful in the world, it’s no surprise Edinburgh’s popularity as a winter destination continues to grow year on year.”
Roddy Smith, Chief Executive of Essential Edinburgh, said: “It is terrific to see that the Christmas festival continues to be more popular than ever, and to draw people from far and wide to the city centre at this important time of year for our shops, bars and restaurants.
And the new production of hit Broadway musical Five Guys Named Moe, opened at the Festival Square Theatre.
Produced by Underbelly Productions in association with Cameron Mackintosh, the Clarke Peters musical features the toe-tapping hits of jazz legend Louis Jordan, including; Early In The Morning, Choo Choo Ch’Boogie and Saturday Night Fish Fry, plus many more performed on stage by a live band.
Councillor Richard Lewis, Edinburgh’s Festivals and Events Champion, said: “Edinburgh remains one of the UK’s top winter destinations and it is fantastic to see the festive events attract thousands of visitors and residents to the city centre. This year’s figures are looking really positive, even before we move into December.”
School children from Edinburgh are reminded to ask their schools for the secret code which gets them free tickets to the ice rink in St Andrew Square courtesy of Standard Life’s 10,000 free ticket giveaway.