East Lothian in bid to attract visitors

David Bellamy at the Seabird Centre. Picture: Greg Macvean
David Bellamy at the Seabird Centre. Picture: Greg Macvean
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TOURISM campaigns in Edinburgh are usually designed to lure people to overseas destinations or promote exotic breaks.

But the latest campaign is encouraging visitors to focus a little closer to home – East Lothian.

Four tonnes of sand is to be transported to the Capital as part of a promotional campaign encouraging visitors to get out and see the Garden County.

The sand will be taken from coastal beaches to St Andrew Square next month in a bid to capitalise on Edinburgh’s world-famous festival season to market the area.

Dubbed Wish You Were There . . . the promotional “occupation” will also include a petting farm, interactive fish tank and the installation of an 18ft pool with paddleboard ­lessons to champion the region’s surfing hotspots.

The campaign aims to target visitors to the Festival Fringe, as well as encouraging city residents to explore some of the hidden gems on their doorstep.

Home to the world’s oldest golf course, mini-East Lothian will also boast pitch and putt and mini-golf as part of the display that begins on August 1.

Whisky samples from ­Glenkinchie Distillery will also be served as part of a tasting masterclass.

Josh Christopherson, 37, ­senior instructor at Coast to Coast Surf School in Dunbar – which is part of the promotional campaign – hailed the county as an untapped haven for watersports.

He said: “East Lothian has stunning beaches like Belhaven and Peffersands as well as the beautiful backdrops of the Bass Rock and the islands. They have such variety in terms of skyscapes – some of the sunsets are phenomenal.

“Wish You Were There . . . seems like a great thing to promote awareness about East Lothian and show people that they have this resource right on their doorstep.”

The celebration of East Lothian will last ten days and also feature a menagerie of animals from the famous East Links Family Park. Owner Grant Bell said: “Securing such a venue in such a prestigious location at the height of the ­festival is major coup.

“East Links will really be pushing the boat out this year and doing our utmost to pull in the crowds with colour, banners, branding, live activities, as well as the usual livestock.”

Councillor John McMillan, East Lothian’s economic ­development and tourism spokesman, said: “We are in a great position in East Lothian with being so close to our wonderful capital city but having a very different pace of life. We think this will really appeal to people wanting an escape from the hustle and bustle of festival time in the city. And we hope it will open their eyes to what East Lothian is all about and they’ll want to come back.”