Royal Highland Show

Royal Highland Show generates more for Edinburgh economy than Hogmanay

An independent economic impact report commissioned by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) has found that the Royal Highland Show contributes £39.5 million annually to Edinburgh’s economy – more than Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations. 

Held every year in June, the event attracts in the region of 200,000 visitors across four days to celebrate the best of Scotland’s food, farming and rural life. 

Staged in Ingliston at the Royal Highland Centre, the Royal Highland Show sees up to 6,000 animals competing, with other attractions including a food and drink hall, Scotland’s Larder, sheep shearing, musical entertainment, rural crafts, forestry, show jumping, machinery and educational experiences. The Royal Bank of Scotland is a long-term partner of the show, having been its headline sponsor for 41 years. 

With an average visitor spend of £147, the Royal Highland Show is a key sales opportunity for exhibitors. Visitors spent more on accommodation (21 per cent) than any other expenditure category, with overnight visitors typically staying in Edinburgh for 2.5 nights. This is closely followed by spending on food and drink on site, and other spending (both 19 per cent). This other spending includes purchases of agricultural equipment. 

This is the first time that the economic impact of the show has been assessed on a comparable basis to Festivals Edinburgh. Carried out by BOP Consulting, it finds that the event generated additional output in Edinburgh of £39.5m – with this corresponding to a Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) employment of 674. The event also has a wide reach, with 74 per cent of visitors travelling from across Scotland to attend. 

Mark Currie, RHASS director of operations, commented: “The economic impact and reach of the Royal Highland Show is significant, and this report demonstrates the importance of the Show as one of Scotland’s largest and most well-attended events. 

“Visitors and exhibitors come from far and wide to connect, be entertained, to sell and to buy, and it is widely acknowledged to be the best platform for rural Scottish businesses in the country. 

“We are fortunate to have a loyal and engaged audience, and one that is only growing as the show evolves into a truly global event – this year more than 200,000 people from around the world tuned in to watch the show online.” 

The full report can be viewed here.

The 2023 Royal Highland Show will take place June 22-25.