A ‘huge asset’ to the local economy

“IN such tough economic times, to have an event like this based in the heart of the Borders is a huge asset for shops, restaurants and hotels, and is a significant contributor to the local economy.”

So said Councillor Graham Garvie, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for culture, after it was hinted this week that more visitors than ever are set to attend the ninth annual Brewin Dolphin Book Festival.

The 2011 event attracted a massive attendance of 12,600 – up 23 per cent on the 10,200 who enjoyed the 2010 festival – and analysts later advised that the economic impact on the central Borders was up by a similar margin to £3.34million. It was also revealed that 36 per cent of the audience last year came from outwith the region.

“Each year the proportion of people attending from outside the area has increased,” said festival director Alistair Moffat. “It is too early to give exact figures for this year, but with the strong programme and judging by ticket sales to date, I’m confident they will, at the very least, match, if not exceed, last year’s numbers.”

Councillor Garvie said: “The festival is now established as one of the major events of its kind in Scotland. It is a true success story in terms of the increasing number of visitors it attracts and the sheer enjoyment it also brings to the thousands of Borderers who attend.”