A TENTH of visitors to the Capital are bedding down on someone’s couch or in Air-bnb sites, a huge new survey has revealed.
And of those who do come to Edinburgh, its history and culture prove to be the biggest draw.
Visit Scotland interviewed nearly 1400 visitors to the Capital during the summers of 2015 and 2016 in an effort to shed new light on tourists’ holiday habits.
Some 65 per cent of visitors surveyed said Edinburgh’s history and culture was its biggest attraction, with the Capital’s landscape and scenery coming a close second with 61 per cent.
Two of the city’s most famous attractions – Edinburgh Castle and the Fringe – also emerged as top contenders when it came to drawing visitors from all over the world.
The findings have been welcomed by leaders across the tourism sector after it emerged 93 per cent of visitors would give Edinburgh a rating of seven or above out of ten.
Jean Burke, marketing manager of Mercat Tours, said it was good to see visitors flocking to enjoy Edinburgh’s history, adding the city’s food and drink scene was another popular draw.
She said: “I think the tourism sector in Edinburgh is very good at working together.
“People are aware it’s the city as a whole that attracts people. From their experience arriving at the airport to checking in, it all counts and people in the tourism sector are very aware of that.”
Gavin MacLennan, general manager of Lateral City Apartments, which operates luxury serviced apartments in Old Town, Bruntsfield and soon the Edinburgh Grand, said he was not surprised by the survey’s findings.
Mr MacLennan said demand for rooms was “huge”, with more and more visitors choosing to stay for longer periods.
He said: “Edinburgh is 24/7, 365 days a year. When I speak to other businesses in the city we are all saying the same thing – Edinburgh is busier and busier than it’s ever been.
“We have just seen Marvel filming in the city which for ourselves and our colleagues has been huge in what’s traditionally a quiet time of year.
“Everyone works really well together to promote it as a destination.”
Mr MacLennan added fears over a Brexit-related downturn had so far not materialised.
He said: “We are seeing that the demand is still there, people are not put off by it.
“Scotland will always be a popular destination regardless of what’s going on around us.
“We keep a close eye on it but it’s not worrying us.”
The survey saw nearly 12,000 people interviewed across Scotland’s major cities, with exactly half of Edinburgh respondents stating they had always wanted to visit the city.
John Donnelly, chief executive Marketing Edinburgh, said it was “terrific” so many visitors rated their time in the Capital.
He added: “From our world famous festivals and historic landmarks to our open green spaces and award-winning restaurants, Edinburgh is unique in its universal appeal – the main reason 93 per cent of visitors go on to recommend a trip to their friends and family.”
Gail Niven, chair of Edinburgh’s West End BID, said: “We welcome the work that Visit Scotland does to advocate Edinburgh and bring visitors to the city and hope visitors enjoy the West End as much as I do.”