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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2006, 18:47 GMT 19:47 UK
Record sales for city's festivals
Phil Nichol
Phil Nichol won a comedy award for his Fringe performance
Edinburgh's festival season has had a bumper year with ticket sales reaching record levels.

The Fringe sold 1.5 million tickets, with half booked via the internet.

The Book Festival had its most successful year, with more than 200,000 people attending. Two-thirds of tickets were sold before the festival started.

The International Festival, which runs until the end of the week, said it was approaching ticket sales of 2.5m, an increase of 14% on last year.

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo also sold out in record time.

All 220,000 tickets for its three-week run were gone by February.

'Lifeblood of the Fringe'

Half of all Tattoo sales were on the internet, up five percentage points on last year.

Paul Gudgin, director of the Fringe, called for more support for the largest arts festival in the world.

He said: "This is the sixth year of consecutive growth and it is stunning to think that three years ago we were celebrating selling one million tickets for the first time.

"It's now time for Edinburgh and Scotland to acknowledge the value of the festivals and act to safeguard their future."

Mr Gudgin said that there was a "climate of growing competition from other UK and international festivals" such as Liverpool, Manchester and Barcelona.

He urged the Scottish Executive and Edinburgh City Council to match the ambition shown by the 17,000 performers and hundreds of venue managers who are "the lifeblood of the Fringe".

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