A consultant’s report suggests that Shetland Wool Week pumped more than £500,000 into the economy – a 70 per cent increase on last year.
Highland Business Research has been looking into the festival, which ran for nine days this year, and its associated economic input.
It estimates that travelling fanatics brought with them £460,000 of spending power along with approximately £70,000 spent by locals, resulting in a total of almost £526,000 of economic activity.
The figures are based on money spent on wool week classes and tours, food and drink, accommodation, transport within Shetland and gifts.
One of the wool week organisers is Misa Hay. She said the findings of the report were “extremely” pleasing.
People are prepared to travel long distances and invest considerably once they are here. MISA HAY
“We have seen a growing interest and enthusiasm for Shetland Wool Week and it is evident that people are prepared to travel long distances and invest considerably once they are here.
“We have been focusing on building up the wool week brand and profile through various marketing activities and in terms of interest for Shetland’s textile industry, the figures speak for themselves. We have over 10,000 followers on Instagram, 12,000 Facebook fans and 22,000 subscribers to the newsletter alone.
“Attending key events such as the Vogue Knitting Live in New York and Edinburgh Yarn Festival have had a beneficial impact, with 40 per cent of attendees coming from outside the UK, many from long haul destinations.”
She said the challenge for the organisers was to continue to improve the “customer experience”.
“It is clear from the feedback that participants rate the organisation of the event as well as the skills and expertise of the tutors, and it is this, together with the location and personal touches that makes for a very special event. We want to continue at this very high level and further develop a really full and diverse programme which appeals to people of all abilities, whether they’re interested in knitting, wool, textile heritage, spinning, weaving or tweed.”
Next year’s festival will take place between 23rd September and 1st October. Submissions for tutors and event providers is 31st January, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.