The Aberdeen Christmas Village brought record numbers of people to the heart of the city centre over the festive period.
Spearheaded by Aberdeen Inspired in partnership with Aberdeen City Council and Codona’s, an estimated 631,000 people visited the winter wonderland between November 22 and December 31, an increase of over 200,000 from 2017.
This year, the seasonal event focused on supporting local traders, with stalls offered free of charge to 70 traders as part of Christmas in the Quad.
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired, said: “Our raison d’etre as an organisation is, of course, to increase footfall in the city centre and we welcome the record figures for the Aberdeen Christmas Village, which are the highest we’ve ever recorded by some way.
“The village is a maturing product, and we have tried to be more local by giving a bigger focus to that in the 2018 offering, and draw people from the city, shire and further afield to our regional capital.
“We were happy to offer stalls free of charge to traders for Christmas in the Quad. At the planning stage, we received an enthusiastic response from a range of local companies, offering artisan crafts, art and food and drink among others, really reflecting the talent we have in the north-east.
“This element, and the wider Christmas Village, has been generally well received, and feedback from traders in particular has been very positive. It has been great to see local businesses benefitting from this opportunity and enjoying being a part of the experience.
“This is a unique aspect of our offering which sets us apart from other large scale Christmas villages across the country. It is also something we would like to grow even further in future years, and we feel there is appetite for this.”
Aberdeen City Council Culture Spokesperson, Marie Boulton said: “I’m absolutely delighted that 2018’s festive celebrations saw 200,000 more visits to the Aberdeen Christmas Village than the previous year. The increased participation in the festive fun is fantastic news for the city centre.
“Aberdeen City Council is committed to making the city an even more vibrant and enjoyable place to live, work and visit. These figures highlight the popularity of the seasonal experience for people both local and from further afield, with more visitors coming to the Christmas Village. As well as being huge fun it’s also great for the city centre economy.”
Local businesses in the vicinity of the Aberdeen Christmas Village have also expressed their support for the attraction.
Jackie Wilson, co-owner of Upperkrust Aberdeen, said: “We thought the Aberdeen Christmas Village was a brilliant event to have on our doorstep. It brought both increased business and footfall to the area, and also really brightened up the area. For us, we found that as a result of it, people discovered us who didn’t know we were there and that is really positive and something that will benefit us in the future.”
Rachel Nowak, managing partner of The Damside, a family run business specialising in quality Scottish gifts, who took part in Christmas in the Quad, said: “To be given the chance to take part in a large event like this for free was an amazing opportunity for a small young company such as ours. We made a lot of sales during our weekend at Christmas in the Quad, having to re-stock both Saturday and Sunday. It was also an invaluable experience for us as it exposed us to potential new clients, which could make a huge difference to our company in terms of revenue.”