I always read with interest Brian Ferguson’s column, but when VisitScotland’s involvement with the Edinburgh festivals is put into question (Perspective, 5 August), events which are very close to my heart, then something must be said.
Our campaigns are targeted and effective, demonstrated by the continued economic impact the £11 billion tourism industry has on Scotland.
And you’re right, Brian, when you say it’s not just about Edinburgh, and this is a balance for us – to ensure visitors are making their way around the whole of our inspirational country.
If we were to concentrate our efforts simply on an already busy capital in August, I would have a lot of Highland hoteliers, Orkney restaurants and Borders’ visitor attractions (to name but a few) chapping on my door.
But Mr Ferguson’s criticism fell at the Edinburgh festivals’ door, so it is that I will address.
On top of our specific event funding of the festivals, which amounts to more than £150,000 in 2013 alone, the promotion of the family of Edinburgh festivals is consistently threaded across all VisitScotland marketing and media activity, both in Europe and long-haul/emerging markets, and is a core element of our marketing activity across all our channels, reaching hundreds of thousands of potential visitors across the world.
On a UK level, the activity begins from up to a year in advance.
This year, we have committed significant funding to Festivals Edinburgh’s marketing campaign through our growth fund, undertaken sponsorship deals with key tourism partners and media (including The Scotsman) and assisted in more than 25 press trips.
Other activity includes direct mail, e-zines, numerous consumer and corporate press releases, blogs, web activity and social media awareness.
I thank you for your concern, but please don’t worry, we’ve got it covered.