THE CAPITAL has one month left to save its summer from being a complete washout as VisitScotland sets about targeting 1.2 million English residents looking to escape the Olympics.
VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said that operators would have to make the most of August in a bid to salvage the main tourist season after weeks of torrential rain.
The weather saw numerous local events, including the high-profile Taste of Edinburgh, called off.
It was not all gloom, however, as the tourism boss revealed that if August went well the city could be looking at a bumper period worth £261 million due to the combined pull of the Festival and the Year of Creative Scotland.
Residents from the south-east of England with an urge to get away during London 2012 are now being “targeted” by tourism bosses in the hope of boosting city coffers following a rain-lashed start to the summer.
Mr Cantlay said: “We’ve had quite a few festivals and outdoor events cancelled this year. it’s been a real tragedy, but everyone is now determined to try and make the most of August and September. Fortunately, the Capital has all kinds of fun and activities on offer.
“There’s a sense that we’re on the brink of a real bumper period. The festivals are always a big draw but added to it this year we have the Year of Creative Scotland and the release of the animated film Brave. Everyone’s fed up with being cooped up due to the weather so we are urging everyone to get out and enjoy the city this month.
“We have just launched our Surprise Yourself campaign in the south-east of England, which is targeted towards those who wish to get away from all the Games hysteria.
“The south-east of England is Scotland’s largest domestic market in terms of visitor numbers, and Surprise Yourself has been specifically up-weighted over recent months to position Scotland as the ultimate get-away destination.”
A number of offers are in place to tempt people to the Capital; Cityjet is now offering £59 flights from London while Scotrail is offering a £99 sleeper.
Last month, the Capital’s key tourist attraction, Edinburgh Castle, revealed that following a fantastic start to June with record visitor numbers over the Diamond Jubilee weekend figures were down in comparison with June last year.
In July, Gorgie City Farm told how it was barely admitting 30 people a day when usually during the school holidays they would receive over 100 visitors each day.
The Royal Highland Show at Ingliston in June is estimated to have seen 20,000 fewer visitors because of the weather while The Haddington Show – which was expected to draw crowds of 4500 – was called off after torrential rain left the showground flooded. The Dalkeith Agricultural Show, was likewise cancelled.
Organisers of the Taste of Edinburgh event in the Meadows were also left counting the cost after the annual event was cancelled. It is believed that set-up costs alone were in the region of £750,000.
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