Sandra White MSP for Glasgow Kelvin


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As Glasgow’s world famous Celtic Connections festival kicks off today (Thursday 16th January) – new figures released show the event is expected to bring in over £5.3 million to the city in the coming weeks.

Last year over 38,000 visitors descended on Glasgow for the festival – with the Scottish Government revealing those numbers are set to rise in 2020.

The figures, obtained by MSP for Glasgow Kelvin Sandra White, also show that festival-goers stayed in the city for an average of 4 days spending up to £97 per person every day in 2019. Outside of Glasgow, Scotland enjoyed a £1 million boost in net expenditure generated by the festival.

From 16 January – 2 February 2020​, 2,100 musicians from around the world will arrive in Glasgow and bring the city to life for 18 days of concerts, ceilidhs, talks, art exhibitions, workshops, and free events. This year’s line-up includes performances from Anais Mitchell, Bela Fleck, Salsa Celtica, the GRIT Orchestra and the much-loved Trans-Atlantic Sessions.

Commenting,  MSP for Glasgow Kelvin Sandra White said:

“Celtic Connections is a truly world-class event, and it’s no surprise that thousands of visitors are expected to flock to Glasgow from across the UK and the rest of the world over the next few weeks.

“The festival also offers a huge boost to Glasgow’s economy – with local businesses raking in their share of over £5 million in 2019, with the number of festival-goers set to rise even further this year.

“Visitors from across the UK, Europe and beyond will be greeted with open arms as our city comes to life for one of the biggest winter music festivals on the planet.

“We should all be proud of the rich cultural heritage Scotland has to offer, and world class festivals like Celtic Connections will continue to ensure we remain an outward-looking, welcoming nation.”


Sandra White (Glasgow Kelvin) (Scottish National Party): To ask the Scottish Government how many tourists are expected to visit Glasgow to attend the Celtic Connections festival.

Fiona Hyslop (Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs) : In 2019, the festival welcomed a total of 38,056 unique visitors (excluding schoolchildren), and a total attendance figure for events of 113,267. This represents a slight increase from the 2016 Economic Impact Assessment in which there were 31,023 unique visitors and a total of 124,746 attendances. Of these visitors, 38.9% came from outside of Glasgow and a total of 15.2% visited from the rest of the UK or overseas. A slight increase in visitor numbers in 2020 is expected to follow this trend.

Sandra White: To ask the Scottish Government how many businesses in Glasgow are expected to benefit directly from the Celtic Connections festival.

Fiona Hyslop: The Celtic Connections Economic Impact Assessment, published most recently in August 2019, showed that Celtic Connections generated £5.36m of new output to Glasgow. Overnight visitors stayed in Glasgow for an average of 3.8 days, and daily expenditure ranged from £72.03 to £96.47. The festival makes use of the exceptional venues, architecture and infrastructure in Glasgow, creating the opportunity to stage world class premieres and events. The festival maintains strong relationships with key local suppliers, including Glasgow Restaurateurs Association, local hotels, equipment hire and transport companies.

Sandra White:To ask the Scottish Government what the economic impact is of the Celtic Connections festival on (a) Glasgow and (b) the rest of Scotland.

Fiona Hyslop: The most recent Celtic Connections Economic Impact Assessment was carried out by Tourism Resources Company for Glasgow Life and published in August 2019. The report showed that Celtic Connections generated over £3.75m of net direct expenditure to Glasgow and generated £1.05m in Scotland in 2019.


Net Economic Impacts
  Glasgow Scotland
Net Direct Expenditure

(relating to visitor spending)

£3,772,273 £1,058,458
Output (relating to supply chain effects) £5,356,628 £1,778,209
GVA (relating to spending of additional wages/fees as a result of the festival) £2,493,892 £828,661
Employment (FTEs) 83.8 27.9



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