TWILIGHT tourism needs to be greatly improved to encourage more visitors to the Capital, according to a new blueprint for the future launched today.
Edinburgh 2020: The Edinburgh Tourism Strategy is the result of almost two years consultation, research and preparation and sets out ways for the city to maintain and grow local tourism over the next eight years.
One of the main points raised was the lack of so-called “Twilight Tourism”, with visitors complaining there is a lack of late-night opening hours at shops, museums and galleries, which would be available in many other European cities.
The full document was set to be launched by Fergus Ewing, Minister for Energy, Enterprise & Tourism, at the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group’s (ETAG) annual conference today.
Other key recommendations include improvements to offer a more positive impression of the Capital when tourists arrive.
Visitors identified the area around Waverley Station and Waverley Bridge as being vital to providing a warm welcome.
That image was tarnished in recent years due to overflowing rubbish bins, and ETAG said the area should be made a “superb central arrival point”. They suggested creating routes through certain parts of the city to act as tourist trails, and action plans for these areas have been developed.
Robin Worsnop, chair of ETAG, said: “It was identified that the early evening in Edinburgh is a time when visitors feel there is not much to do in the city, so there opportunity for businesses to remain open later.”
The report also flagged up the city’s potential for growth in the next few years, including the continuing expansion of air routes from Edinburgh Airport. Planned and prospective growth in the city’s hotel market was highlighted and other factors, such as the redevelopment of the Assembly Roomsand blockbuster exhibitions by the National Museum of Scotland were put forward.
There is also the boost from the arrival of giant pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang to Edinburgh Zoo, the British Open Golf Championship at Muirfield in 2013 and the Commonwealth Games in Scotland in 2014.
With development constrained by Edinburgh’s world heritage status, the group suggested the West of Edinburgh and the Waterfront were the two areas where growth could happen.
Mr Worsnop said: “Edinburgh 2020 is about maintaining the momentum of growth for the next ten years and beyond. The strategy will support the creation of 6500 new full-time jobs in Edinburgh by 2020.”
WISH YOU WERE HERE
Core priorities for action over the next three years:
• Development and enrichment of Edinburgh’s outstanding festivals and attractions.
• Legible Edinburgh: enabling better visitor understanding of the city
• Edinburgh at Twilight: Improving the availability and promotion of things to see and do during the early evening
• Good Food Edinburgh Developing food as a major attraction
• First Impressions: making Waverley Station and Bridge a superb central arrival point.
• Excitement through Innovation: Using technology to make Edinburgh’s heritage more interesting and exciting, particularly for young people
• Science for Visitors: realising the full potential of Edinburgh’s scientific and technological resources for tourism