Video: what people really think of the Edinburgh Festival - and the proposed tourist tax

As the Edinburgh Festival comes to a conclusion for another year, the Capital will soon return to normal after a month of world-class arts and entertainment.

Monday, 27th August 2018, 2:47 pm
Updated Monday, 27th August 2018, 2:54 pm
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is coming to an end after another record-breaking year (Photo: JP)

But while the 2018 edition of the Fringe offered 3,548 shows and 56,796 performances, the huge increase in visitors to Edinburgh puts a strain on public services and transport.

The question of whether the world's biggest arts festival is too big for the city is a long-running debate in the Capital.

What do festival-goers and locals think?

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The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is coming to an end after another record-breaking year (Photo: JP)

Is the Edinburgh Festival getting too big?

• “[The festival] seems like its getting bigger. I don’t know if that’s because of different venues being used. But I don’t like it when I’m trying to get to work because it’s more difficult. But apart from that I love it.”

• “It’s a big opportunity to go to a lot of shows. You end up missing on a lot of things that sound great. That said, an embarrassment of riches is better than a lack of opportunity to do anything.”

• “I wouldn’t say it’s crazy busy. We’ve been in busier places, so we’re happy to come here.”

• “I find that the rubbish that’s lying around is something awful. No matter where you go it’s bad. They don’t seem to want to empty the bins.”

Should there be a tourist tax in Edinburgh?

The influx of festival visitors has led to calls for a tourist tax of £2 a night per visitor.

The move is backed by the council, but it needs to persuade the Scottish Government to grant it the powers to introduce it.

The issue proved to be divisive with people on the streets of Edinburgh.

• “I think it’s a shame when something becomes more commercial than it should be. I’ve always thought this is about celebrating the arts and people being creative, and if suddenly becomes about making more money and taxing people, it doesn’t really fit with the ethos.”

• “I imagine if they hide [the tourist tax] and you pay it anyway without realising it. It probably won’t make a huge difference. People will come anyway.”

• “They should spend [money] on the homeless. People that are on the streets. [The festival] is just a publicity gimmick. That’s the way it seems to be.”

Festival season in Edinburgh comes to a close with the Festival Fireworks tonight (27 Aug). Here's everything you need to know.

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