Edinburgh Facts and Figures - Why Edinburgh? - Meeting Edinburgh
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Edinburgh Facts and Figures

A year round global destination, it is no surprise that Edinburgh is one of the world's most visited cities.

Edinburgh By Numbers

  • Edinburgh city is home to a population of nearly 500,000, 1.6 million regionally.
  • The city is a major tourism centre and welcomes over 4 million visitors annually, injecting £1.2 billion in to the local economy.
  • Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site covers over 1.76 square miles and over 75% of all the buildings are listed – the highest concentration of listed buildings anywhere in the UK.
  • Visitor accommodation in Edinburgh and the surrounding area provides more than 20,000 beds, with over 50% within a 2km radius of the city centre.
  • Edinburgh has more restaurants per head of population than any other UK city outside of London.
  • Google eTown Awards recently recognised Edinburgh as the second most tech-savvy town in the UK.
  • Edinburgh has 112 parks in the city, as well as more trees per head of population than any other city in the UK.
  • The city has the lowest level of air pollution of the ten largest UK cities over the last two years (DEFRA).
  • More than 70km of traffic free cycle paths criss-cross the city.
  • Rainfall in Edinburgh is well below the Scottish average and less annually than in Rome, Frankfurt and New York.
  • Edinburgh’s residents are the happiest of the largest 10 cities in the UK and 97% are satisfied with Edinburgh as a place to live.
  • Edinburgh Airport is Scotland's busiest airport with 33 airlines flying 188 routes to 130 destinations.

For more facts and figures, take a look at Edinburgh by Numbers by the City of Edinburgh Council, a yearly publication that highlights a range of information, statistics and data on Edinburgh and the city region.

Edinburgh Festivals

People come to visit Edinburgh from across the globe to share their passion for arts, culture and ideas.

  • Edinburgh's festivals are a unique cultural phenomenon and each year they attract over 4 million people.
  • Only the Olympics and the World Cup exceed the number of tickets sold for Edinburgh’s festival events.
  • The Edinburgh International Festival was established in 1947 and is ranked as one of the most important cultural celebrations in the world. On average the Festival presents over 160 performances involving over 2,500 artists to an audience of up 400,000 each year.
  • The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world with live theatre and comedy performances. In 2014, a total of 49,497 performances of 3,193 shows were staged in 299 venues and ticket sales reached 1.94 million.
  • The Edinburgh International Science Festival is the world’s first science festival, founded in 1989 and remains Europe’s largest with 200 events and visitor numbers in excess of 90,000.
  • The Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF), established in 1947, is the oldest continuously running film festival in the world, screening over 150 feature films from over 50 countries.
  • The Edinburgh Art Festival (EAF) is the UK’s largest annual festival dedicated to visual art.
  • The Edinburgh International Book Festival is the largest of its kind and hosts almost 800 authors from over 40 countries around the world.
  • The summer festival season ends with an explosive grand finale – a concert in Princes Street Gardens orchestrated with a breathtaking fireworks display over Edinburgh Castle and enjoyed by an estimated 250,000 people.
  • Edinburgh hosts the biggest New Year street party in the world. Edinburgh's Hogmanay welcomes over 80,000 revellers to Princes Street and the surrounds entertained by live music, a sell-out Concert in the Gardens and dazzling firework displays.