Dundee’s revamped Christmas offering was visited by over 267,500 people and generated £2.6m for the city’s economy, it was revealed today.
Christmas in Dundee 2021 featured the Winterfest event in Slessor Gardens, which included a festive market, skating rink and a big wheel, as well as a winter wonderland in City Square and new Christmas lights in the streets.
An evaluation of the Christmas activity has now been completed – and it revealed the event was hugely popular with visitors.
Plans are now being put in place to ensure Dundee city centre is once again the place to be, for locals and visitors alike, during the 2022 Christmas period.
Councillor Mark Flynn, convener of city development, said: “We promised we'd build a bigger and better celebration for Christmas 2021 and that’s what we’ve achieved.
“There was a real buzz about the town, with activities for young and old alike, and that’s now being borne out in the evaluation.
“The surveys that were done with hundreds of visitors showed that 90% rated the event as good or very good, while 88% had a more positive impression of Dundee due to the activities.
“The visitor numbers between City Square and Slessor Gardens are fantastic, and the direct economic impact of £2.6million shows that our ambitious plans for Christmas have really made their mark on the city.
“By whatever measure you look at – the enjoyment of those who attended or the economic impacts of the event – it’s been a huge success.”
A team of evaluators conducted site surveys to measure social and economic impact and to monitor the audience demographics and event experience.
The survey found that over two-thirds said attending had a very positive impact on their health and wellbeing. A further 68% said that the event helped with "quality time with my family.”
Economic impact findings included: just under three in 10 people who attended were visitors to the city; and 84 temporary jobs were created.
Councillor John Alexander, leader of the city council, said: “I want the kind of superb Christmas offering that Dundee had in 2021 to be a permanent fixture, and we are already planning for this year.
“That doesn’t mean it has to be exactly the same – we want to learn from 2021 so that we can build and improve.
“We also want to harness the positivity and get others on board, particularly businesses who might want to get involved and help us to offer something even bigger and better next year.”
Christmas In Dundee 2021 was funded by Dundee City Council, with support from Event Scotland.
Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s director of events, said: “We were delighted to support Christmas in Dundee 2021 through Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund, established by EventScotland in conjunction with funding from the Scottish Government.
“Scotland is the perfect stage for events and it is wonderful to see the positive impact the Christmas activity had on visitors and the community as a whole. It reinforces the important role events play both to our communities and the country as a whole.”
A spokesperson for M&N Events, organisers of Winterfest, said: “We are overjoyed at the positive impact WinterFest created for visitors and for the city of Dundee, and glad that our investment in the event was able to contribute to a more festive feel in the city.
“We are delighted that so many people were able to enjoy a Christmas event of this scale where they were able to have fun and feel safe. We are very excited to be able to bring a bigger and better WinterFest to Dundee for 2022 and are already working on ways we can deliver this.”