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Mercat Tours – Free Tours For All to Celebrate 30th Birthday

Posted: 26th June 2015

01 07 15 MT Reveal

Family run Mercat Tours are celebrating their 30th birthday with a host of surprises planned for visitors, staff and partner businesses on the Royal Mile.

For one day only, all tours will be offered to visitors free of charge, on Wednesday 1st July. Operating the full tour programme means a potential 450 visitors will be welcomed to share the birthday cheer exactly 30yrs since the family business began.

Launched on 1st July 1985 as a part-time hobby of four local history teachers, the ‘founding fathers’ did not anticipate where their venture would lead. Offering visitors the opportunity to explore the Old Town and hear the accurate history of Edinburgh with passionate, engaging storytelling seemed a natural development of their day job, as explained by Des Brogan, founder and Managing Director for 30 years:
‘Edinburgh is a wonderful city where you can see, and hear, history all around you – it was the perfect classroom. I would take my students to the Royal Mile and teach on the street, the kids loved it – and so did the visitors! I realised there was no tourist provision, no tours sharing the stories of Old Edinburgh and this was an opportunity. Since traditionally visitors would go to the Mercat Cross to seek out a guide we decided to maintain the practise, begin at the historic heart of the town and be named Mercat Tours. The rest, as they say, is history…!’

Mercat’s reputation has grown locally and nationally and seen them win a variety of accolades – VisitScotland Regional Director Manuela Calchini commented:
“My congratulations go to Mercat Tours on its anniversary which marks three decades of achievement in encouraging and helping visitors to appreciate the long and fascinating history of our capital city. The company has built up an impressive, well-deserved reputation for excellence in visitor services and a superb range of informative, inspirational guided tours of the highest quality – as has been recognised by the accolades it has won from both our Quality Assurance Scheme and Scottish Thistle Awards. Mercat is also to be commended for ensuring it keeps extending its offering through new products – such as its ‘Outlander’ tours – to respond to visitor interests. Des and Kat and their team are a great credit to the tourism industry, not only in Edinburgh but throughout Scotland, and I wish them continued success for the future.”

The celebrations will see both Des and Kathleen Brogan, Managing Director since January, donning their badges and stepping back to their guiding roots by welcoming visitors at the Mercat Cross and leading bespoke, one off tours. With daily opportunities to win tickets and prizes, a two-week social media campaign has featured fascinating anecdotes, photos and materials from the last 30 years. The anniversary celebrations will be shared with visitors and local partner businesses with some extra surprises planned for the day.

Speaking about the company’s success, Kat Brogan said:
‘Mercat’s growth is due to the incredible people we have had the luck to work with over the years. From our guides welcoming visitors at the Mercat Cross, ready to give history ‘a damn good telling’ to the genuine support and friendship from industry partners – the 1st July is a celebration and thank you.’

With award-winning guides, guaranteed departures and the smallest groups in the city to ensure a 5 star experience, Mercat’s tour programme of historical walks and ghost tours has expanded
dramatically. Congratulating Mercat’s development and acknowledging their role in Edinburgh’s tourism offering, John Donnelly, Chief Executive of Marketing Edinburgh commented:
“Mercat Tours’ ever growing success over the last thirty years is a momentous achievement. Thanks to its ongoing development and innovations, such as the new Outlander tour, Mercat Tours continues to be one of Edinburgh’s most popular city centre attractions for leisure and business tourism visitors. Congratulations to the whole team.”

Mercat has received a record 91% VisitScotland Quality Assurance grading, National Scottish Thistle Award, Scottish Business in the Community SME of the Year and GTBS GOLD re-awarded for sustainable practise the company looks forward to future growth and development. For more information, please click here

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