Leading figures from Edinburgh’s festivals, cultural and heritage bodies, the film industry and visitor attractions are calling for a rethink over plans to pull the plug on the body responsible for selling the city to the rest of the world.
Organisers of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which is worth around £77 million to the economy, and the city’s Hogmanay celebrations, which were valued at nearly £40m last year, have hit out at the prospect of Marketing Edinburgh losing being stripped of nearly 90 per cent of its funding over the next two years.
The move, which its chief executive has warned will lead to the “demise of the company,” is also being opposed by the Edinburgh City of Literature Trust, the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust and the Scotch Whisky Heritage Experience on the Royal Mile.
Councillors are coming under pressure to reverse the planned cut of £790,000, which Marketing Edinburgh chief executive John Donnelly has warned will leave the city “vulnerable” to economic decline by putting “critical pipelines” at risk.
Brigadier David Allfrey, chief executive of the Tattoo, said: “I’m convinced of the need for Scotland’s capital to have call on a focussed, creative and cost effective agency to shape and support the range of communications and marketing activity that set out our worth.”
“It’s imperative we communicate competitively Edinburgh’s promise as Scotland’s capital, a fabulous place to live and work, a major financial and commercial centre, an international tourism and transit destination and to make our citizens proud of their heritage and place in the world.”
Edinburgh World Heritage director Adam Wilkinson said: “We support the principle of a highly strategic destination marketing organisation that works to enhance the image of Edinburgh as a place to live and work, is fully in touch with the issues we face, and helps build positive dialogue between residents and the city’s leadership.
“Based on proven European models such as in Amsterdam, we also support the idea of an organisation that helps develop, promote and implement sustainable tourism strategies that balance the needs of residents, visitors and local businesses.”
Ali Bowden, director of the Edinburgh City of Literature Trust, said: “The proposed cut would significantly undermine the visibility and benefits of our world-leading designation.”
In a letter to Marketing Edinburgh, Elizabeth Burchell, marketing director of the Hogmanay festival, said: “The city clearly needs you to continue the work you do, particularly in the areas which are highly competitive but also lucrative.”
Mr Donnelly said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received from partners, members and international allies. We’re more confident than ever that without our work, a dangerous gap would exist.”