Dumfries and Galloway’s major festivals and events are one of the outstanding success stories of the region, according to the local authority.
A council spokesman said: “That is the clear message being sent out by the regional partners who are delivering the Council led Major Festivals and Events Strategy 2014-2017. The investment provided by the Strategy is producing superb economic results from a host of high profile festivals, the Council can report.
“The Wigtown Book Festival, Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival, Spring Fling, Big Burns Supper and the Eden Festival are all reporting increasing numbers of visitors and economic impacts for the wider economy. All of these events are becoming stronger financially through the revenues they are securing and the market niches they are carving out within Scotland and the UK.
“The funded events of the strategy created a £10m windfall for the region from visitor and events expenditure in 2014, evaluation reports show, and 2015 will create a similar return. The figures demonstrate a superb return on the Council’s annual investment of £250,000 p.a.
“The forthcoming International Sheep Dog Trials, September 10-12 at Meikleholm Farm, will see a new influx of 10,000 plus visitors descend upon Annandale and Eskdale this Autumn. These visitors are expected to create a £1m plus spending boost.
“Spring Fling, the region wide open artists’ studio weekend continues to be a superb showcase for regional artists and attracts flocks of visitors. The event was worth more than £1.4m to the area this year with enthusiasts spending £262, 940 in the 95 participating studios. More than five and a half thousand people planned a trip to Dumfries and Galloway in May of this year specifically to visit Spring Fling.”
Councillor Colin Smyth, the Local Authority’s Events Champion said; “The Council’s targeted investment since we adopted the Major Festivals and Events Strategy in November 2013 is developing for our region a rich seam of nationally and internationally significant festivals and events, that are sustainable for the foreseeable future. These events add to our quality of life and help agencies such as VisitScotland successfully market South West Scotland.
We are fully mindful of the knowledge and skills events organisations in Dumfries and Galloway possess, and which they put to fantastic creative use, and the good fortune we have to benefit from such a strong relationship with agencies such as EventScotland the Holywood Trust. The £10m plus financial windfall for Dumfries and Galloway we are announcing for 2014 demonstrates a superb return on public sector investment from our grant support. The Strategy is a cornerstone of our work to bring economic benefit to the region and to concentrate on activities that develop our economy.
There are many more great events projects in the pipeline and the Council is determined to make Dumfries and Galloway the best rural location for major festivals and events in Scotland. Our signature events are an outstanding success story for the region.”
VisitScotland Regional Director Paula McDonald said; “The extensive and diverse range of high-quality events and festivals hosted throughout Dumfries & Galloway plays a major part in attracting visitors to the region and showcasing its incredible scenery, inspiring heritage, wonderful attractions and the amazing range of things there are to see and experience here. The value to the region’s tourism industry of a lively, engaging events and festivals programme is huge and we recognise that continued investment in that is critical to continued economic success and growth and are committed to supporting that through EventScotland funding.
We are delighted that Dumfries and Galloway Council has measured the impact of the investment made into the 2014 events programme and the superb return which this has achieved, and congratulate the Council and all of the events’ organisers involved who have worked so hard to deliver such great results for Dumfries and Galloway. We look forward to seeing many more successes as the exciting 2015 events calendar continues to roll out.”