Lifestyle magazine says Harry Potter tourism ‘ruining Edinburgh’

Diagon House, Harry Potter, Victoria Street. Picture: TSPL
Diagon House, Harry Potter, Victoria Street. Picture: TSPL
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A POPULAR lifestyle magazine has claimed ‘Harry Potter tourism’ is ruining Edinburgh.

In a feature, VICE magazine, examines visitor hotspots in Edinburgh that pay homage to the boy wizard series by JK Rowling, branding them “hollow,” “cynically exploited” and “infringing more and more on Edinburgh.”

Author Liam Turbett’s piece says: “The city is full of horrible gimmicks about a celebrity wizard.”

“Harry Potter tourism is infringing more and more on Edinburgh.

“The year had barely begun when it was revealed—in a mysterious overnight change of signage—that a well-known city center pub, the Conan Doyle, is now the J.K. Rowling.

“The city now boasts two shops devoted to its merchandise—their frontages both claiming to represent the “inspiration” for Diagon Alley. A daily walking tour traipses around sites in the city tenuously linked to the series, excitable drama students in pajamas—sorry, wizarding robes—leading the way. Starting in February, a pop-up Potter-themed bar will also open up in the city for three months.

“A couple of years ago, there were warnings that the sheer number of tourists in Edinburgh, alongside the rapid rise of unregulated vacations and the overdevelopment of new hotels, was making the city’s Old Town increasingly hostile for those who live there, and even threatening its heritage status. Just last month, another Edinburgh literary titan, Alexander McCall Smith, warned that the city was in danger of becoming “a vulgar wasteland of tourist shops, big hotels, and nothing much else,” with families driven out. The sudden rise in Harry Potter tourism seems to cut to the heart of that, cheered by local tourism chiefs and some businesses, but bearing very little relation to the city of Edinburgh or its inhabitants, aside from the only one who matters: J.K. Rowling.

“If Harry Potter tourism feels hollow, it’s because it is built on a fantasy.”