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ETAG Conference 2018 - Reflection and Key Takeaways

edinburgh skyline

Members of the Assembly Rooms team attended ETAG’s annual Conference held in February 2018.

The conference was themed around “Managing Success” and how we ensure that Edinburgh can continue to generate sustained tourism growth in a way that benefits businesses, residents and visitors.

  • The event highlighted the success of the City of Edinburgh and of its tourism sector in 2017 with some fantastic achievements:

  • Edinburgh ranked 9th in a new index of Europe’s most dynamic cities

  • Edinburgh ranked 1st for Global Cities of the Future

  • Improved connections to Chinese Market

  • Edinburgh is the greenest city in the UK with 49.1% of the city is green space

  • Successful 101 Objects campaign generating substantial exposure for the city

  • Event and Festival Destination of the Year 2017

  • Edinburgh named UK’s most walkable city

  • Edinburgh ranked 2nd in the world for quality of life

  • Successful 2017 for the major attractions: Edinburgh Castle achieved 2 million visitors for the first time and NMS achieved 2.16 million visitors – up 19%.

  • Edinburgh named Best UK Youth Destination 2017

  • Successful 2017 for Edinburgh Airport: Record-breaking 13,432,485 people passed through Scotland’s busiest airport in 2017.

  • Edinburgh named 2nd top UK destination in TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2017

  • Successful Georgian Shadows event

  • Best UK City Break for Families by Family Traveller Awards

With an upward trend in visitors and city-wide achievements, ‘How to manage success’ was an apt theme to discuss. Through various speakers a number of key messages began to emerge:

  • Major attractions must be champions for ongoing approach and attitudes

  • Ensure visitor quality

  • Ensure a spread of visitors across the city to avoid City Centre fatigue and pressure

  • Build strong business values and collaboration to maintain growth and investment

  • Facilitate for growth

  • Encourage a collaborative economy

  • Encourage business tourism as an alternative to leisure tourism, expanding city offering

  • Always consider the locals

  • Encourage and deliver winter programming and events to spread tourism throughout the year

It’s exciting to see the City of Edinburgh gain such high profile and praise this past year, with tourism proving to be such a vital part of our economy, growth and global presence. However, plans must be in place to ensure we grow at a manageable rate. That we invest in appropriate areas for the future, ensure our city’s tourism profile grows as a whole (not just the centre) and ensure collaboration and respect for business and locals who play such an important role in its future success.

The Assembly Rooms team are looking forward to playing our part in the future of tourism in Edinburgh.