THE International Ayr Show - Festival of Flight brought £7.1m into the town's economy last September...though officials say that figure is a "very conservative estimate".

The figure was revealed at a meeting of South Ayrshire Council’s cabinet as councillors discussed inward investment in the area.

A reported 240,000 people flocked to South Ayrshire over the course of the three-day festival last year.

A report published in November revealed that the council made a loss of more than £100,000 on the event, with revenue of £256,325 against a budget of £364,000.

But the cabinet meeting was told the overall impact on the local economy far outstripped that figure.

Councillor Bob Pollock asked about the report on the economic impact of the air show.

Jane Bradley, director of strategic change and communities, said that they had estimated the figure at £7.1m.

Council leader Martin Dowey said: “That’s an excellent amount, which I think is way more than we probably thought we would get.

“I take it that is a conservative estimate?”

Ms Bradley replied: “Yes, it is very conservative. We have evidence to back up that figure. It is not a figure with formula applied and multiplied up.

“It has taken some time to make sure it is verifiable.”

After the meeting, the council was asked to elaborate on how it calculated the £7.1m and why it was sure it was a conservative estimate.

A spokesperson said the calculation had been even more specific –  £7,173,324.

They said: “The council’s approach combined both fieldwork and desk research to determine the economic impact of the Ayr Show.

“Fieldwork involved direct interaction with event attendees, supplemented by desk research to gather additional data and contextual information.

“We used a questionnaire to gather feedback from visitors, aimed at capturing key insights into spending patterns, travel behaviours, and overall satisfaction levels.

“The estimated total gross expenditure was £7,173,324.

"Gross expenditure, in the context of this economic impact assessment, is the total amount of money spent by visitors during the event in South Ayrshire.

“This encompasses various categories of expenditure, including but not limited to accommodation, dining, transportation, retail purchases, and entertainment expenses.

“Gross expenditure serves as a fundamental metric for assessing the economic impact of an event.

"By aggregating individual expenditure data from survey responses, we calculated the overall gross expenditure associated with the event.”

They explained that some economic impact studies operated a less robust method by taking a smaller amount of additional economic activity and multiplying it.

They added: “We used a gross expenditure model, which is considered the most conservative method because it measures the total spending generated in the economy without accounting for the subsequent rounds of spending (induced impacts).

"It simply tallies the initial spend related to the event, without considering the broader economic implications.

“The funding approved at Cabinet for inward investment will support local businesses to benefit from trading at the event and we are also delivering business engagement sessions to support businesses to increase their economic impact from the Ayr Show, and the wider calendar of events.”

A draft business toolkit is also being published to help businesses be ‘event ready’ and encourage more spending locally.

The event will return for a second year, on September 6 and 7.