Page last updated at 11:38 GMT, Thursday, 28 August 2008 12:38 UK

Theatre's 'huge' economic impact

Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Visitors to the theatre also spend money in local shops, cafes and hotels

A theatre in Highland Perthshire is boosting Scotland's economy by 13.1m a year, a study has suggested.

Research by Abertay University shows the annual turnover of Pitlochry Festival Theatre is about 2.2m.

However, its impact is much greater once the money spent by visitors on local food, drink, accommodation, shops and transport is taken into account.

Bosses are now looking to launch a 6.5m appeal to expand and improve facilities for audiences.

The report, which looked at figures from 2006/07, states that for many visitors a trip to the theatre was the main or a significant reason for coming to Pitlochry.

More than 80% of visitors came from outwith Perth and Kinross and almost 20% were not from Scotland.

Almost 52% of trips to the theatre involved an overnight stay - meaning additional spending by the visitor of about 130.

It is a magnet for visitors and is one of the many reasons people are attracted to Pitlochry
John Swinney MSP
Finance Secretary

The study also suggested that 219 jobs were supported by the theatre.

There has been significant growth in the theatre's impact over recent years. In 2004, it was estimated that the facility's annual contribution to the economy was 8m.

Theatre chairman David Pighills said: "The theatre has a positive effect on the quality of life of Perthshire residents and they also feel that the theatre provides excellent recreational and economic opportunities for local people, as well as helping to stimulate a wider interest in the arts.

"There is also a strong feeling of civic pride associated with PFT, with over 85% of people agreeing with the statement 'I feel proud that people enjoy coming to visit Pitlochry Festival Theatre'."

John Swinney, local MSP and finance secretary, added: "Pitlochry Festival Theatre makes a huge economic impact locally.

"It is a magnet for visitors and is one of the many reasons people are attracted to Pitlochry.

"The high quality productions and the determination to operate a year-round programme of events has made the theatre an absolutely central part of the local economy."

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