A JOURNEY of a thousand miles begins with a single step, according to the ancient proverb from Chinese philosopher Laozi. And so it began with Edinburgh 2020 – a vision for tourism in the Capital exactly two years ago this month.
Edinburgh’s tourism journey has been a long and successful one – with its foundations going back to those that had the ambition and foresight to set out the original Edinburgh Tourism Strategy in 1989. That strategy ensured that Scotland’s capital now enjoys worldwide recognition as one of Europe’s “must see” visitor destinations.
Edinburgh 2020 aims to ensure that the momentum that tourism has developed over the previous 20 years of growth does not turn into complacency. We have the potential to increase the value of tourism even more – creating benefits for individual businesses, the city and its residents.
Today at the EICC, ETAG (Edinburgh Tourism Action Group) will host its annual conference. This will bring together 200 key stakeholders from across the city, who will be privy to the findings of the first Edinburgh 2020 “Strategy Performance Monitoring Report”.
As chair of ETAG, I am confident the conference will report positively on all five core indicators that measure the strategy’s performance, including the total number of visitors, total expenditure, average spend per trip, seasonality and, of course, job creation – all achieved against the backdrop of a challenging economic climate.
Whilst we will be able to celebrate some milestones on our journey, my focus remains very much on maintaining momentum on the road ahead. Critical to this is ensuring that the cohesive approach to delivering Edinburgh 2020 continues to thrive by growing the successful partnership forged between the public and private sectors.
2014 is undoubtedly a huge year for Scotland’s tourism industry, as we host the Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and deliver the “Scotland Welcomes the World” campaign.
Hosting these major events is a potential springboard for future success, and we must ensure that our partnership remains focused on achieving our long term strategic aims. 2014 is a milestone rather than the end of the journey.
• Robin Worsnop is chair of ETAG and CE of Rabbie’s Small Group Tours