AS the first major city to welcome in the New Year, Sydney proudly boasts that it is hosts the most talked about party in the world.

But now organisers of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay event are gunning for the number one spot and hope to topple the Australian city from its perch.

The capital’s Hogmanay celebrations attracted 165,000 people last year, and had an economic impact of £39 million, a new report states.

However, Underbelly, in its second year running the three-day event, wants Hogmanay to be the most talked about New Year celebration in the globe.

Around 10,000 more people, from 80 countries, attended the last Hogmanay event compared to 2017, and the organisers believe there still room for Edinburgh’s three-day New Year festival to grow.

Charlie Wood, director of Underbelly, said: “Our plans aren’t about increasing that number of visitors, it is about increasing how Edinburgh and Scotland are viewed internationally.

“It’s about creating an event that is talked about, not just in the city, that notion of ‘Oh why wasn’t I there?’.

“That’s the goal, its about creating those images and stories, that really sell the city and the country internationally.”

Underbelly said its own research shows that Hogmanay generated 37 TV news pieces reaching 89 million viewers, 201 radio pieces reaching 141 million listeners, and more than 2,000 online articles reaching more than 10 billion readers, with 360 pieces in print. These figures helped lift Edinburgh from the 17th most covered New Year event in 2017 to joint 7th this year.

However, the short term aim, Mr Wood said, is to break into the top five, with a long term aim of being the most-visible New Year event in the globe.

The research shows the top New Year celebrations being covered internationally are Sydney at no 1, followed by Seoul and Hong Kong at joint 2nd, followed by New York, Singapore, and Paris, and then London and Edinburgh at joint seventh, followed by Tokyo, and Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Moscow at joint 10th.

Mr Wood added: “It cannot be an exact science, but it helps build a picture about how the world looks at Edinburgh.

“And our goal is to make sure that it beats every other city in the world as the city that everyone talks about - which is creatively we try to make it as different as possible.

“The aim is to get images and stories, about Hogmanay and about Scotland, all around the world.”

The economic impact figure is 40 per cent higher than the last measurement, in 2010, of £27.9m.

The last Hogmanay was the first staged by Underbelly for the City of Edinburgh Council, after being run by Peter Irvine’s Unique Events for more than 20 years.

Ed Bartlam, co-director, said: “We didn’t set out to throw away what was already great about the event, we kept that, Peter Irvine did so much brilliant stuff, we just wanted to turn it up a notch, and that’s what we want to continue doing for the next few years.”

Research conducted by BOP Consulting also surveyed 5,236 attendees and found that Hogmanay was the main or only reason for visiting Scotland for 71% of attendees from elsewhere in the world, 74% of whom were attending Edinburgh’s Hogmanay for the first time.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is principally funded by City of Edinburgh Council.

More than one-third of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2018 income came from public sector funding and 66% was from commercial sources of revenue including ticketing and sponsorship income.

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam added: “We’re delighted by the increased economic impact of the event on Edinburgh and Scotland; to be an event that both encourages people to visit and creates employment in the city; to have people from 80 countries buy tickets for the event but also see a strong local audience that engages and participates.”

Ticket for Hogmanay 2019 are already on sale.

Councillor Donald Wilson, the culture convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Underbelly certainly didn’t fail to impress in their first year producing the event and this report highlights just how much of a success the festival was with a whopping estimated economic impact of £39.8m for Scotland.”