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30 August 2016, 07:43
The Edinburgh Fringe and International festivals have been hailed a "spectacular success'' as performances draw to a close.
Millions of people have visited the Scottish capital throughout August to watch comedy, theatre and music shows as well as a number of free outdoor performances which mark the peak of the city's year-round festivals calendar and the height of its tourist season.
Almost 2.5 million tickets have been issued for 50,266 Fringe events, an increase of 7.7% on last year, while the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) has generated £4 million in ticket sales, surpassing last year's record.
This year marked Shona McCarthy's first Fringe as chief executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe society.
Ms McCarthy said: "In 2016, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has once again been a spectacular success, welcoming performers and audiences from across the globe, and issuing an estimated 2,475,143 tickets.
"We hope that all those who attended ticketed shows, as well as the thousands of people who attended the 643 free shows in the programme, truly enjoyed their Fringe experience.
"The Fringe plays an essential role in the global arts community, providing a platform for artists from around the UK and the rest of the world to showcase their work and make new connections. With 48 countries represented in this year's programme, the breadth and diversity of talent on offer has been astounding.
"We are now looking forward to our 70th anniversary celebrations in 2017 and hope that as many people as possible will join us to mark this fantastic milestone in the history of Edinburgh's festivals.''
The curtain came down on Edinburgh's festival season on Monday night with a display of hundreds of thousands of fireworks lighting up Edinburgh Castle.
It is estimated that 250,000 people turned up at Princes Street Gardens and other vantage points across the city for what is the largest annual fireworks concert in the world.
The annual Virgin Money Fireworks Concert provided the finale to the Edinburgh International Festival with over 400,000 fireworks lighting up the sky against the backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.
EIF director Fergus Linehan said: "At the end of three incredible weeks, all that remains is for us to thank the hundreds of artists and hundreds of thousands of audience members who continue to make the Edinburgh International Festival one of the wonders of the arts world.
"The International Festival has always been a place for people of all nationalities to meet and exchange ideas and we've seen that everywhere across the city these past three weeks.
"In uncertain times, events like this feel ever more important, and we at the International Festival are honoured to have been able to host, inspire, entertain and moreover welcome so many artists and visitors from all over the world to our city.''
As well as the Edinburgh International Festival and the Festival Fringe, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Edinburgh International Television Festival and the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo also all get under way in August, making the city a hive of activity over the 25 days.
In 2015, Edinburgh's 12 major festivals generated £280 million of economic impact in Edinburgh and £313 million in Scotland, whilst attracting audiences of more than 4.5 million people - on a par with the Fifa World Cup and second only to the Olympic Games.
Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs said: "This has been another excellent year for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
"Every year the Fringe evolves, providing new opportunities for Scottish, UK and international artists to take the next step in their careers.
"The Fringe, which benefited from £560,000 of Scottish Government Expo funding, demonstrates the very best of what Scotland has to offer, giving visitors from around the world truly unique experiences, against the spectacular backdrop that Edinburgh provides.''