East Lothian economy enjoyed £3.1m boost thanks to Fringe By The Sea festival

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EAST Lothian’s economy enjoyed a £3.1m economic boost thanks to the Fringe By The Sea festival.

An independent report by MKA Economics put the figure at  £3,139,616,more than doubling the 2019 figure of £1.55m.

More than 39,000 people visited the festival, with 25,000 purchasing tickets to one of 200 events.

An estimated 14,000 people attended free events throughout the town across the ten days.

Independent research established that many visitors went to the area purely because of the festival

The draw of the festival in attracting people into the region and North Berwick on both day trips and overnight was significant, with nearly two thirds of visitors stating it was the only (34%) or a main reason (30%) for visiting the area.

The proportion of people coming to the festival and staying overnight in accommodation providers that weren’t friends/family also increased by 10%, driving revenue to accommodation providers as well as other businesses throughout the town.

Director of Fringe By The Sea, Rory Steel, said: “Organising the festival this year was not without its challenges, risks and financial burdens.

“But this economic impact assessment report really is the cherry on top of the incredibly positive feedback we’ve been receiving over the past month.

“Our main aims were to gather the community together, bring smiles to faces and put some money through the tills of local businesses and in the pockets of freelance artists and production staff.

“The doubling of visitor numbers to Fringe by the Sea demonstrates that we successfully delivered on these aims.   I’m incredibly proud of the whole team in making this happen.”

Steel admitted that despite the £3.1m economic benefit to East Lothian it is always a challenge for the festival itself to make ends meet, particularly this year with the huge costs associated with covid-19 safety.

He added: “We are now planning for 2022, which will certainly be a challenge once again, but with the encouragement from so many, we’re determined to build on our success and stage another brilliant event next year.

“Those not wishing to miss out on popular events should sign-up to Fans of the Fringe 2022 now, and watch this space for great acts soon to be announced.”