The organisers of Scotland’s largest agricultural event, the Royal Highland Show, have hailed a successful year with a 64% increase in income.
The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), which organises the four-day show in June at Ingliston near Edinburgh, posted revenues of £8.2 million for the year to November 30 2021. This is up from £5m the year before.
The society said the increased revenue was down to securing the Royal Mail and NHS vaccine centre at the Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston, £750,000 of Scottish Government support for hosting its live-streamed Royal Highland Showcase event last June, and the final tranche of Business Interruption Insurance payments totalling £700,000.
It said membership income remained stable at £400,000 despite another year without a Royal Highland Show, due to Covid-19 restrictions, and £200,000 was raised through the society’s Save Your Show fundraising campaign.
Despite the increased revenue, the society’s latest accounts show a 167% increase in its net operating deficit to £800,000, from £300,000 previously.
The accounts also show a 50% decrease in the society’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) and a 25% reduction in net debt to £5.6m.
Society expenditure, as detailed in the accounts, includes £136,000 in support for education charity the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET) and a donation of £16,000 to rural charity RSABI.
‘A challenging year’ but ‘prudent and considered decision making’ paid off
RHASS chairman, Bill Gray, said the society was extremely proud of what it had achieved during the financial year.
“Despite having to endure a great deal of change, mainly due to the impact of the global pandemic, our membership has remained steadfast in support of a charity that they highly value,” added Mr Gray.
“It has been a challenging year but with prudent and considered decision making, we have emerged an evolved and more sustainable charity and for that I am incredibly proud.”
RHASS chief executive, Alan Laidlaw, said the society had worked to create new income streams during the year, which it will build upon in the future.
He added: “Investment in our infrastructure continued, including upgrading our IT systems which will mean a more streamlined membership service.
“We have also invested in training and the recruitment of key staff who have the skills we need to forge ahead and realise our ambitions.”
Earlier this month RHASS confirmed it will be introducing a daily limit of 50,000 visitors to this year’s Royal Highland Show on June 23-26.
The society also said the public will not be able to turn up to the show on the day without tickets, and all tickets – for both parking and entry – must be purchased in advance.
RHASS members, who receive tickets as part of their society membership, are also being asked to let the society know which days they plan to attend in advance.