With more than 400,000 people expected to descend upon Edinburgh over the month of August for the Fringe Festival, it’s about to get busy in Scotland’s capital.

Figures have shown the festival to be worth around £367million to the Scottish economy and generates £33 for every £1 of public spending on it. There’s no doubt it’s a highlight of the year in the Scottish calendar and continues to grow year on year.

It’s not just Edinburgh which feels the benefit of it either, more and more people are choosing to stay along the M8 in Glasgow and make the fairly quick and accessible train or bus journey. It’s a sign of the increased impact of the Fringe that hotels in Glasgow have been close to full for the entire month of August.

Having two major cities so close together and good transport links means visitors will make the most of it and see Glasgow and Edinburgh in the same trip.

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That’s particularly the case for international visitors, as Craig Munro – general manager at AC by Marriot Hotel Glasgow – can attest to.

He said: “We have seen spikes in demand when there are large events in Edinburgh. During Taylor Swift’s recent run of record-breaking concerts, for example, demand for rooms rose sharply compared to other weekends in an already very busy June, and we’d expect that to be replicated across August during the Fringe. Prices can be very high in Edinburgh, and availability around big events, particularly the Fringe is tight with visitors and performers all needing accommodation.

“Visitors to Edinburgh and Scotland, particularly from places such as south of England and the USA, are realising that Glasgow is not far from the capital, particularly by train, and that accommodation rates and availability are far more favourable in the west.

“It also means they can take in sights in both cities, ticking both off the list in their visits.  Late night transport options from Edinburgh to Glasgow also help with this.

Craig Munro is the general manager at AC by Marriot Hotel GlasgowCraig Munro is the general manager at AC by Marriot Hotel Glasgow (Image: Handout)

“We opened in November last year, so this is our first Edinburgh Festival, but we’re already seeing rooms booking up fast. We received our first wave of festival-related August bookings early this year, so festival goers are already building it into their plans. We still have some availability in August – but that is likely to change soon. 

“I know from working at other hotels across Edinburgh and Glasgow that there is a significant proportion of people who choose to stay in Glasgow over Edinburgh. It’s still something of a ‘hack’, but more people are finding out about it and booking up in Glasgow. It’s a great example of how major events in both cities can benefit the other.

“We don’t actively promote staying in Glasgow as an option for Edinburgh, but visitors are getting to know us as a great option. We’re so close to Queen Street Station which makes the hotel ideal for tourists and visitors looking to take in both cities. We’re also right next to George Square and other attractions, so they’re right where they need to be. 

“We are running a few events related to the Edinburgh Festival for guests, and that should help bring the spirit of the Fringe to Glasgow as well. We expect to see that elsewhere too. There’s a massive opportunity for Glasgow to benefit from the Edinburgh Festival and show off all the cultural attractions it has to offer, which works well for everybody.”

For Edinburgh itself, there’s so much going on throughout the month. From comedy to musicals, there’s plenty for everyone to see with shows that are free and some that you have to part some more cash with to see.

Cafe Andaluz is one of a number of restaurants that will see increased tradeCafe Andaluz is one of a number of restaurants that will see increased trade (Image: Handout)

With so much on, food and drink becomes a key part of it and there’s so much planning goes into it from the businesses side.

Innis and Gunn are the official beer partner of the festival and expect to sell one million pints over the course of Edinburgh. It’s a key part of their year alongside the festive season and unsurprisingly it’s the same for restaurants too.

Tony Conetta, a director at DRG which includes venues such as Café Andaluz, Amarone and others, revealed footfall is driven up 75% in their restaurants.

Their Glasgow sites also experience a boost in business but overall they’re able to offer more work to staff and turn part time jobs for university students into full time earnings during the fringe.

It’s a task that takes a lot of planning and Conetta said: “Preparation for the festival is a year-round activity, with a significant amount of planning required. We usually up staffing levels at our Edinburgh venues by an additional 20%, offering PT staff, many of whom students, with full time hours during the university holidays. It creates additional earning and work experience opportunities, and can really help those working toward a longer career in hospitality. 

“Where students can’t fill the roles, we’ll bring in temporary staff creating more opportunities. We are also able to move staff through from some of our Glasgow venues to support, which is popular due to the real buzz around Edinburgh. 

“The period requires close working with suppliers, with additional stock needed to meet demand, and also planning to negotiate temporary street closures due to the festival.  

Innis and Gunn will sell one million pints of beerInnis and Gunn will sell one million pints of beer (Image: Handout)

We also need to factor in longer opening hours to maximise capacity over. Seven days a week – it’s certainly a very exciting time!”

For Dougal Sharp – one of the founders of Innis and Gunn – it also offers opportunities to expand the market they sell in given the international audience.

He said: “The Fringe is the perfect mix of good weather, world class entertainment and of course, great beer. We’ll sell over one million pints of beer during the Fringe.

“One of the most interesting aspects of our partnership with the Fringe is the diverse nature of the audience. There are locals who enjoy it, but also huge numbers from England and overseas who bring new consumers into our brand. As one of the biggest imported beer brands in Canada and Sweden, this only strengthens our international footprint.”