Leaders hail tourist boost to economy

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Business leaders in the Capital have praised the tourism sector for helping Edinburgh weather the recession “better than most”.

Ron Hewitt, chief executive of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, praised hoteliers, restaurateurs and entertainment providers whom he said make Edinburgh a “must-visit city”.

He said: “Edinburgh has weathered the recession better than most thanks, in some measure, to the strength of the tourism sector and in particular the “staycationers” who helped boost summer visitors and, in the process, Scotland’s economy.

“Like the rest of Scotland, we were heavily dependent on domestic visitors from England, Wales and Northern Ireland, who accounted for 84 per cent of all trips to Scotland.

“Despite the global economic downturn, visitor spend on tourism in Scotland was estimated to be £1.7 billion for the first half of 2011.

“It is good to know that, where other cities across the globe are struggling to attract visitors, Edinburgh and Scotland’s quality offering is exactly what visitors want.”