Edinburgh West MP, Christine Jardine, has today (Thursday) asked Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Helen Whately MP, for assurance that the UK’s upcoming departure from the European Union will not cause undue difficulty for visitors to Edinburgh, and in particular its annual International Festival.
The August event is an unparalleled celebration of the performing arts and a meeting point for people of all nations. Its programme includes performers and ensembles from the worlds of dance, opera, music and theatre.
In 2019, ticket sales for the Edinburgh International Festival totalled over £4 million, with audience figures rising to 420,000. Meanwhile, at the Fringe, the number of tickets issued broke the 3 million barrier for the first time, with over 250,000 attendees. Of these, 44% travelled from outside of Edinburgh. The festival season represents a critical part of the city’s tourism economy.
Following Culture Questions in the Commons this morning, Ms Jardine commented: “The August festival season sees hundreds of thousands of foreign visitors coming to our beautiful city to celebrate the performing arts. It is vital to Edinburgh’s flourishing tourist industry, and for the industry UK-wide.
“Brexit is a real threat to the tourism industry in this country, with events such as the Edinburgh festivals likely to be hit hard. The government has to be clearer on how it plans to protect our tourism industry from the harm that Brexit will cause.
“As the government negotiates our future relationship with the European Union, I will continue to pressure ministers to ensure that foreign tourists are able to visit this country with ease. Our tourism industry cannot afford to suffer as a result of Brexit.”