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Edinburgh launches new initiative to support the hard-hit tourism and hospitality sector

Posted: 10th August 2020

  • ForeverEdinburgh encourages residents and visitors to share what they love about Edinburgh and invites them back into the city
  • Campaign is a joint initiative from Edinburgh Tourism and Action Group, City of Edinburgh Council and industry partners
  • Tourism and hospitality industry is one of the worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic

A new initiative to support Edinburgh’s hard-hit tourism and hospitality industry goes live today. The ForeverEdinburgh campaign has been developed by the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG), working closely with the City of Edinburgh Council and industry partners from across the sector, including hoteliers, visitor attractions, bars and restaurants, events and festivals and transport.

The campaign aims to maintain Edinburgh’s position as the UK’s top visitor destination outside of London, attracting over 4 million visitors a year and employing 34,000 of the city’s 513,000 residents. Its launch follows the recent relaxation of lockdown restrictions for many parts of the tourism and hospitality sector which has allowed businesses to reopen over the last month.

Edinburgh’s tourism sector has gone from strength to strength in recent years but has seen a very dramatic reversal of fortunes recently.  It was only a few short months ago that the key challenge was how to address the concerns around over tourism in the city.  However, the impact of the COVID19 pandemic has hit the city particularly hard  and while the relaxation of lockdown rules has seen a boom in staycations in more rural parts of Scotland, visitors remain cautious about visiting city locations and key draws to the city, such as major events, festivals and business conferences have had to be cancelled.

The ForeverEdinburgh initiative aims to ‘inform and inspire’ residents and visitors alike, giving them the confidence to come into the city by communicating the new safety measures in place right across the city, ensuring people feel prepared and reassured.

A new website soon to be launched, will provide information to help people plan their visit responsibly as well as recommend things to see and do and, for those from further afield, where to stay.

Edinburgh residents and visitors will be invited to share what they love most about Edinburgh using #ForeverEdinburgh. From local walks and cycle routes to favourite restaurants or the best place to get a cappuccino, ForeverEdinburgh will inspire people to get into the city again, whether that’s to revisit an old gem or discover a new one.

Local businesses are encouraged to engage with the ForeverEdinburgh campaign and be part of a united, city-wide movement with increased visibility and social engagement through #ForeverEdinburgh. A digital toolkit with flexible campaign assets designed for easy integration with existing brand and marketing collateral will be available to download at

Donald Emslie, Chair of ETAG, commented:

“The impact of COVID-19 and the implications for the tourism sector in Edinburgh are unlike anything we have experienced before.  It was clear from the very early days of the crisis that Edinburgh’s tourism sector was going to be particularly hard hit, putting many jobs and businesses at risk.  It was also clear that a new approach to promoting the city’s tourism offer would be required, making public health issues the top priority to ensure the safety of residents, visitors and those working in the industry. 

“A key challenge is also the rapidly changing situation, so rather than create a traditional tourism marketing campaign, the #foreveredinburgh initiative is designed to ‘inform and inspire’ people and importantly create a platform which tourism businesses of all types and sizes can be part of.  ETAG recently surveyed the city’s tourism sector and this demonstrated that their collective social media reach is over 3 million followers, so working together and harnessing this huge resource to promote the city creates a very strong voice for the city.

“ForeverEdinburgh will also encourage residents and visitors themselves to share what they love about the city, creating a genuine ‘Team Edinburgh’ effort to support the many jobs and businesses that rely on visitor income and contribute to the wider city economy, and so we are hoping as many people as possible will get behind the Forever Edinburgh campaign.”

Adam McVey, Leader of City of Edinburgh Council said:

“There is no underestimating how important tourism and hospitality is to Edinburgh, whether that’s in terms of our city’s economy, local businesses and jobs or our residents’ wellbeing and enjoyment. We’re lucky to have such an incredibly vibrant and varied offering at our fingertips – in part driven by the high levels of visitors that our beautiful city attracts – and we need to act urgently to provide support to our local businesses and help build the industry back to be as sustainable and resilient as possible. At the same time, we have to carefully balance this support with ensuring that Edinburgers can enjoy these businesses safely and without compromising their own health or that of others.

“Like all of our recovery efforts, we’re taking a Team Edinburgh approach to backing and implementing the campaign and we’re confident that by working together we can encourage Edinburgers to rediscover parts of their city safely and fall in love with it all over again. We’ll not only see the buzz that we’ve missed so much return to our streets, we’ll also see a positive impact on our local high streets across the city to boost local business and help protect jobs.”

The ForeverEdinburgh campaign has been created in partnership with Edinburgh-based The Lane Agency, who have an award-winning track record with high-profile destination campaigns across Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Chris Bruce, Director of The Lane Agency, said:

“We’ve worked on City of Edinburgh campaigns in the past, however this one was more poignant and important than ever.  We’ve all experienced eerily silent offices and shops and share a desire to see Edinburgh safely returning to the vibrant, buzzing city we know.  It has been a privilege working on a campaign that will reintroduce the city to its residents and visitors.”

Elaine Green, Edinburgh Capital Group, commented:

“Edinburgh Capital Group members are delighted to cement their role as reasons to visit Edinburgh by being part of Team Edinburgh’s #ForeverEdinburgh campaign and hope it will encourage locals to get to know their beautiful city better and the array of attractions, tours and events it has to offer. Our members are all certified by the UK-wide ‘We’re Good to Go’ scheme and ready to welcome visitors.”

Neil Ellis, Chair Edinburgh Hotels Association, said:

“The Edinburgh Hotels Association as a #ForeverEdinburgh partner, is grateful to ETAG for spearheading on this very much welcome and needed campaign for our amazing capital city. Our members stand ready, as they always have, to safely welcome guests from near and far for that no doubt, well-earned city break.”

Lyndsay Wilkie, Director, Business Development at The University of Edinburgh who run three hotels and multiple venues across the City, said:

“Edinburgh’s tourism and hospitality industry has always been so vibrant and something we are all proud of, which is why it makes it so hard to see the City’s hotels, venues and restaurants so quiet at what would normally be our busiest time of the year.  That’s why we are delighted to be partnering with ETAG, City of Edinburgh Council and other key industry partners on the #ForeverEdinburgh campaign, as it’s now more important than ever that we come together to showcase what Edinburgh has to offer. 

“I know how much energy we’ve put into making our hotels and venues safe for our guests and delegates, and we are lucky that our City has so much green and open space for our visitors to enjoy, this campaign will help us all to tell this story and give confidence to our guests of the future.”

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