The Royal Highland Show’s organisers say they have turned their finances around and will make 2022’s bicentenary event as “full and normal” a show as possible.
Last year’s Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) accounts made grim reading after the pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 event, and while this year’s figures have still to be finalised, chief executive Alan Laidlaw said the society is “hundreds and hundreds of thousands of pounds” better off than it could ever have imagined.
He told a press briefing: “That’s a good place for us to be, having put on this year’s Showcase and delivered our charitable activity in spades, and we are planning as full a show as possible for June.
“We believe the outdoor nature of the event, the change of vaccination status and our June timing works as well as it possibly can.”
Mr Laidlaw acknowledged the Scottish Government’s £750,000 contribution towards the staging of this year’s Showcase and said the society is now in discussion about continued government support for the 2022 and 2023 shows.
Meanwhile, an increased number of events at Ingliston’s Highland Centre, including bookings as a vaccination centre and Royal Mail sorting office, have contributed to the improvement in the RHASS balance sheet, and space is already 40% booked for next year.
Alterations to the 2022 Royal Highland Show include asking RHASS members to let the society know the exact days they intend to attend the event in order to free up the space allocation on days they do not need.
RHASS chairman Bill Gray said: “We are asking them to be as accurate as they can, bearing in mind we want to optimise attendance, and any tickets they don’t have a use for we could sell to the public.”
Already 190 applications have been received for trade stands and the organisers are looking at freeing up more space for food businesses in order to reduce congestion in
the usually mobbed food hall.