Wigtown Book Festival generates £4.3m for Scottish economy

Wigtown Book Festival generates £4.3m for Scottish economy

The Wigtown Book Festival generated £4.3 million for the Scottish economy last year–up from £2.3 million since 2013.

The figures came out of a new economic impact study by Bellerby Economics, which included 400 face-to-face interviews. 

The festival welcomes around 10,000 visitors a year–"which is impressive for a small Scottish town with a population of less than 1,000", as the festival’s artistic director, Adrian Turpin, pointed out (pictured left).

Turpin said: "[Visitors] seem to love the event, the atmosphere, the friendly welcome from local people and the beauty of Dumfries and Galloway, with many returning time and again. Each year we try to come up with new themes, events and ideas to keep the festival fresh and we are also working hard to make it as appealing as possible to visitors of every age and background.

"And while the 10-day festival each September remains the flagship, we are also focused on spreading the benefits throughout the year by staging a whole series of other events."

The study also underlined the annual festival’s importance in supporting jobs and attracting visitors to Dumfries and Galloway; it creates the equivalent of more than 57 full time jobs in Dumfries and Galloway (61 in Scotland as a whole), compared to around 32 in 2013.

Councillor Adam Wilson, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Major Events Champion (pictured right), said: "Wigtown has grown into one of the country’s best loved book festivals and makes a tremendous contribution to our culture, economy and tourism industry. 

"Dumfries and Galloway Council has provided ongoing funding, advice and support to the festival to assist its growth and make it the stand-out book festival in rural Scotland. All of this is thanks to the dedication and hard work of a small professional team and the immense efforts of around 100 volunteers."

Ninety-nine percent of respondents rated the festival as "very good" or "good", maintaining satisfaction levels of the previous research carried out in 2013.

It revealed growing numbers of visitors are choosing to remain for longer, too, with 51% staying for three or four nights compared with 30% in 2013, and that 97% of those surveyed, compared with 80% in 2013, liked the region so much that they hoped to return within the next three years.