HAY Festival is internationally renowned so it is no surprise the literary event brings a significant economic benefit to the area.

New research has unveiled that Hay Festival’s local economic impact totalled more than £70m in the past three years, generating £25.8m for the area in 2018 alone.

Analysing visitor spend within a 30-minute drive from the festival site, the new statistics from independent data collection provider QRS Research shine a light on the direct economic value the festival brings in encouraging global tourism to Hay.

This year 273,000 tickets were sold which was up 18,000 on 2017, while 41 per cent of festival attendees stayed in local accommodation for an average of four nights, with visitors from more than 40 countries, from Afghanistan to Venezuela.

Maggie Kerr, development director of Hay Festival, said: “Every year during festival week Hay throws its doors open to the world. The festival, Hay’s bookshops, shops, galleries, cafés, restaurants, campsites, hotels and community all give a welcome like no other place.

“Our research shows how valuable these visitors are to the town’s economy and how important the warm welcome they receive is to their experience.”

The festival takes place over 11 days and this year welcomed 700 of the greatest writers, global policy makers, pioneers and innovators in 800 events.

Andrew Williams, chair of Hay-on-Wye Chamber of Commerce, said: “The festival is always a huge highlight of the business year here in Hay.

“As a Chamber of Commerce we know that our members are thrilled to see the impact on the local economy of the festival visitors. We work closely with Hay Festival to encourage more people to visit our wonderful town and look forward to welcoming them.”

QRS Research is an independent data collection provider in the UK. Hay Festival Winter Weekend takes place from November 22 to 25 with early-bird tickets on sale now.