Speaking at the seventh annual Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG) conference, the Scottish minister for enterprise, energy and tourism, Fergus Ewing, has announced details of the Edinburgh 2020 Edinburgh Tourism Strategy.
The plan includes a series of measures designed to ensure the continued success and growth of the city’s tourism sector.
The ambitious strategy, which is a result of extensive research and over 150 individual consultations with tourism related businesses, including the city’s hotels and hospitality sector, sets out a clear vision and targets for the industry to achieve by 2020.
Edinburgh punches significantly above its weight, with arrivals, spend and bed-spaces per capita all above its UK peers, as too are holiday and business visitor numbers.
The city provides 1,000 year-round accommodation operators, offering more than 13,000 bedrooms.
Chair of ETAG, Robin Worsnop, said: “The past 20 years have seen a remarkable transformation in the scale and nature of Edinburgh’s tourism industry and its impact on the economic, social and cultural life of the city.
“Once a highly seasonal destination, dominated by leisure tourism, Edinburgh now has a rich, diverse year-round industry, with a very strong, high yield conference and meetings sector.
“Tourism-related employment, including the hotel and hospitality sector, has gone up from 12,000 in 1989 to 32,000 today.
The Edinburgh Tourism Strategy sets out three clear objectives to achieve by 2020, supported by specific and measurable growth targets:
Objective 1: The target is to increase the number of visits by one third: from 3.27 million visits to 4.39 million visits, generating an additional 4.15 million visitor nights, an increase of three per cent per annum.
Objective 2: Increase the value of every visitors’ spend by ten per cent: The target is to increase spend from £310.40 to £341.44 per visitor trip.
Objective 3: Reduce seasonality across the sector: The target is to achieve 50 per cent of the additional growth during the months of October to March and reduce the current 40:60 split in visits to 43:57 between October to March and April to September.