Euan McGrory: The tourism debate has moved on in Edinburgh

Tourists in Edinburgh.  Pic: Steven Scott Taylor/JP License
Tourists in Edinburgh. Pic: Steven Scott Taylor/JP License
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The debate around tourism in Edinburgh has definitely shifted.

As visitor numbers continue to grow, questions are increasingly being asked about exactly what the industry brings to the city, both in terms of benefits and downsides.

Tourism is plainly crucial to many great things about life in the Capital, from the low unemployment rates to the vast choice of restaurants, entertainment and cheap air flights we enjoy. But it is equally obvious that the city takes a clobbering every August and December, as crowds surge into parts of the city centre, leaving services from street cleaning to road repairs struggling to cope.

Even the most bitter complainer would acknowledge one thing - the tourist hordes are not going away any time soon. Nor would we want that.

The real question is how the city manages its visitors to maximise the benefits and minimise the disruption. There is a feeling that the pendulum has swung too far away from residents’ needs.

When it comes down to the nitty-gritty, there are few clear answers in the action plan just announced, which we report on on pages eight and nine.

It covers broad principles, rather than dealing in specifics - those will come further down the line.