Aberdeen Inspired has hailed the importance of hosting high profile events in Aberdeen as more than three million visits were made to the city centre last month.

The business organisation cites the success of the hugely popular Jazz Festival as a contributing factor for the rise in footfall and has reinforced the essential business benefits that big events bring to the city.

The Jazz Festival, which was doubled in size this year thanks to support from Aberdeen Inspired, saw a 60% increase in attendance on 2015 and brought an economic benefit of more than £58,000.

It is hoped that upcoming events planned by the organisation, including the global initiative Play Me, I’m Yours, will attract visitors to the city centre and help boost local businesses.

The project will involve the installation of imaginatively decorated pianos in a variety of prominent city centre locations to encourage people to express themselves.

Gary Craig, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “It is fantastic to see the effect that the Jazz Festival had in bringing people to the city centre. On average, there are just over 2,000,000 visits each month, making this a noticeable increase which highlights how crucial events like this are in pulling people in.

“As well as increasing footfall, the impact of events to local businesses is essential. We are committed to creating the necessary environment for our levy players to flourish alongside playing a part in attracting and retaining new businesses to the city centre. A diverse cultural offering is an essential part of this and where we can, we will always actively support events that we see will make a difference.

“For example during the Jazz Festival alone, attendees spent an average of nearly £23 which adds up when you consider the number who visited. Larger events undoubtedly have the potential to bring a positive economic impact to the area they are within. Encouraging people to come and stay in the city centre for an event will also support the hotel sector, which is currently suffering in the local climate.

“Footfall figures are a tremendous aid in allowing us to build a picture of visitor numbers and movement alongside understanding what has the most positive effect in attracting people. This was exemplified by the Aberdeen Christmas Village, which was enjoyed by more than half a million visitors. This and the success of the Jazz Festival show that the public has an appetite for events on a big scale in Aberdeen, which is something we are determined to build on year-on-year.

“It is hugely important to have quality events in the city centre and we are currently making preparations for Play Me, I’m Yours, which we are sure will appeal to visitors and draw them into prime locations. Looking to the future we are also currently working towards delivering and supporting a variety of festivals, including a music, comedy and food festival.”

The Play Me I’m Yours exhibition will consist of a minimum of 10 pianos, which will be decorated by North East Scotland College students, before being placed in a variety of locations around the city centre for two weeks in the summer.

Aberdeen Inspired is the banner under which the Aberdeen BID (Business Improvement District) operates. It is a business-led initiative within the city centre in which levy payers within the BID zone contribute. Proceeds are used to fund projects designed to improve the business district.

Further information on the work of Aberdeen Inspired is available at www.aberdeeninspired.com

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