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12 February 2015, 12:09
The RBS 6 Nations rugby tournament is expected to generate tens of millions of pounds for Scotland's economy this year, according to the country's tourism organisation.
Scotland will host three fixtures of the event, with home matches at BT Murrayfield taking place on Sunday February 15 (Wales), Saturday February 28 (Italy) and Saturday March 21 (Ireland).
Research last year found that in a typical season, visitors to Edinburgh for RBS 6 Nations matches generated £52 million of revenue for Scotland's economy, £30 million of which was for Edinburgh's economy.
The RBS report, conducted in February 2014, found that £35 million comes from spending by visitors who attend the matches and their family and friends who accompany them to Edinburgh while £17 million comes from the knock-on effects, such as spending in hotels, restaurants and bars.
VisitScotland said the financial impact is expected to be even higher in 2015, with Scottish Rugby selling out Murrayfield in just two weeks for the Ireland fixture and a record crowd expected for a game featuring Italy later this month.
Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland said: "With our proud rugby heritage, RBS 6 Nations weekends are always special, creating a friendly, busy and exciting atmosphere in Edinburgh and indeed across Scotland that is brilliant to see.
"Huge sporting events like this don't just provide entertainment, they represent a multimillion pound opportunity to boost jobs as well as deliver cultural and social benefits.
"As last year's hugely successful Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and Ryder Cup in Gleneagles showed, sport really is accessible to all and the opportunities for businesses across the country are endless. From the taxi drivers and food vendors to the busy hotels, bars, shops, and restaurants, tourism is there at the heart of it all, inspiring visitors year on year.
"We look forward to seeing the city come alive with rugby fans and hope many extend their stay to experience the Scotland that lies beyond the pitch. Good luck to all.''
In 2014 more than 600,000 people went through the turnstiles of Murrayfield, with more expected this year.
Dominic McKay, Scottish Rugby's director of commercial operations, communications and public affairs, said: "This Scotland team is really connecting with rugby fans and that is reflected in the record levels of interest we are seeing in ticket demand for matches at BT Murrayfield.
"The economic benefits rugby generates throughout the RBS 6 Nations, and the weekly fixtures of our pro teams in Edinburgh and Glasgow, mean we can invest even more money each year into grassroots rugby across the country to grow the game for the future.''
VisitScotland research has found that travelling to Scotland for a sporting event is a popular activity.
In 2013 domestic visitors attending/watching a sporting event spent 700,000 nights were spent in Scotland, resulting in £59 million for the Scottish economy.