GLASGOW and Edinburgh are joining forces for a major marketing campaign aimed at encouraging the people of both cities to sample the delights of the other.
The Great City Swap is the first time that Scotland’s two biggest cities have co-operated in this way and aims to encourage people to explore the attractions at the opposite end of the M8 corridor. The campaign devised by ScotRail and supported by Marketing Edinburgh and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau will highlight “memorable experiences and hidden gems”, including “insider tips” from residents of both cities.
It follows research suggesting 90 per cent of people in the two cities thought the 50-minute journey time between the two made the other an attractive day-trip destination, but that very few – a third of Glaswegians and just 29 per cent of people in Edinburgh – actually made the trip for leisure.
A lack of local knowledge of the other city was cited by many – 62 per cent in Edinburgh and 44 per cent in Glasgow – as a reason they were less likely to visit, while most said they would like to know more about the attractions that might make them want to visit.
The campaign hopes to have fun around the traditional rivalry between the two cities while celebrating the unique attractions of them both.
“Glasgow and Edinburgh both have great shopping, incredible culture, lively nightlife and family days out,” said Nesta Gilliland, head of marketing and sales at ScotRail.
“However, 90 per cent of those we spoke with agreed that both cities are different in their own distinctive ways.
“That means those who live in either place are in an enviable position. When they travel by train, in less than an hour they can easily be in the other city, soaking up amazing experiences. That’s what our Great City Swap campaign celebrates.
“We want people to travel from East to West, and vice-versa, with ScotRail. It’s not that the cities don’t like each other – they do – it’s just that they need to take the time to get to know each other again. And we’ve got lots of creative ways to encourage people to take the plunge and get swapping.
“Through train travel, we’ll show how easy and enjoyable it can be to discover the real Edinburgh and Glasgow.”
Residents of both cities have been interviewed as part of the campaign – which will include billboard advertising across the Central Belt – to gather their insider tips and “compelling reasons to visit” including tailored itineraries and bucket lists. Among those being targeted are commuters who travel between the two cities for work but never think of making the journey for pleasure at the weekend.
Already residents have recommended almost 200 unusual and exciting reasons to swap – from urban wakeboarding in Glasgow’s Port Dundas to discovering the hidden gardens off the Royal Mile.
People are being encouraged to add their suggestions to the dedicated campaign website www.greatcityswap.co.uk, with the suggestions being loaded into an “itinerary selector” which will be unveiled in October.
Edinburgh city council leader Andrew Burns said: “With less than an hour’s journey between us, great transport links allow Edinburgh and Glasgow to be next-door neighbours. It’s time we got to know each other better and reveal the hidden gems and the many memorable days out which make our cities so worth visiting.
“Whether it is to take in the history of Edinburgh Castle and the Old Town, soak up the festival atmosphere or visit one of Edinburgh’s 137 beautiful parks and green spaces, there are plenty of reasons to take a day trip to the Capital.”
His Glasgow counterpart Frank McAveety added: “Our two great cities share so many common bonds, with outstanding sights and attractions on offer.
“We know that people make Glasgow and I would urge everyone, not least our neighbours in Edinburgh, to come and experience our welcome and hospitality. From world-class museums and family attractions, to shopping and great food and entertainment, there really is something for everyone to enjoy.”
The two cities have discussed ways of working together in recent years but never before mounted a joint advertising campaign. The campaign will highlight free offpeak travel for under-16s and discount travel for over-50s. The city swap will include digital promotions and events including treasure hunts in stations with prize giveaways over the coming weeks.
Anne Ledgerwood, General Manager of Glasgow’s St Enoch Centre, said: “We’re very pleased to be supporting ScotRail’s Great City Swap campaign which is a fantastic initiative to encourage more visitors to Glasgow and Edinburgh.
“With the festive season just around the corner, it’s an excellent time for people from the Capital to come through to Glasgow to experience all the city has to offer, and in particular the world class shopping.”