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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 May 2006, 19:41 GMT 20:41 UK
'Festival city' under microscope
Cavalcade marks the start of the Edinburgh Festival 2005
The international festival is among the annual events
Edinburgh has been warned not to rest on its laurels as international rivals seek to challenge its "pre-eminent" status as a festival city.

A report by international consultants AEA compared the city against more than 20 other festivals across the world.

It said Edinburgh was still out in front - but said it could become "vulnerable" in future years.

The report set out 14 recommendations to preserve the city's status over the coming decades.

These included a continued investment in high-quality programming, collaboration to promote Edinburgh as the world's top festival city and a need to identify priorities over the next 20 years.

Every summer Edinburgh becomes the cultural capital of the world, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists from every corner of the globe
Patricia Ferguson
Culture Minister

The Thundering Hooves report was commissioned by the Scottish Arts Council in partnership with a number of organisations.

These included Festivals Edinburgh, which brings together 11 events such as the fringe, book and film festivals and the Edinburgh International Festival - which contribute 184m to the Scottish economy.

The study said Edinburgh's atmosphere was unique and would be difficult to recreate elsewhere.

Culture Minister Patricia Ferguson said: "Every summer Edinburgh becomes the cultural capital of the world, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists from every corner of the globe.

"It is a status the city has enjoyed for more than 50 years but envious rivals are now seeking to emulate and even surpass Edinburgh's pre-eminent role.

Historic report

"We know we cannot be complacent and should take note of the recommendation in this report for improved co-operation between all the festivals, the city council and other agencies."

A spokesperson for Festivals Edinburgh welcomed the "historic report".

"It is clear that in the face of increasing competition a co-ordinated strategy is a necessary to keep Edinburgh as the world's pre-eminent festival city," said the organisation.

"We look forward to working with all of our stakeholders to ensure that our individual and collective strengths are supported and developed."

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