Experts warn Edinburgh council not to ‘pull the rug’ from marketing body

Edinbugrh could fall behind other tourist destinations, according to experts. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Leading marketing agencies are warning councillors not to “pull the rug” on the body responsible for selling Edinburgh to the world - saying moves to cut most of its funding “defy reasonable logic.”

Experts behind campaigns for Calmac, Tennent’s, VisitScotland, ScotRail, Baxters, T in the Park and the Royal Highland Show have spoken out against the targeting of Marketing Edinburgh.

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They have warned the city will slip behind international competitors unless the 89 per cent cut proposed over the next two years is reversed.

The Union, Whitespace, The Lane, Always Be Content, Punk and Bright Signals are among more than 25 signatories to an open letter claiming the £790,000 cut had been put forward “with no obvious contingency or regard for the damage that will be done.”
Marketing Edinburgh chief John Donnelly says the cuts would leave the city “vulnerable” to economic decline and at risk of becoming “inward-looking and insular.”

The letter states: “The proposal - if passed - will go live in a little over eight weeks, leaving Edinburgh as the only major city in the developed world without a destination marketing management organisation. This is despite Marketing Edinburgh having demonstrated they return £99 to the local economy for every pound spent by them. It ignores their central role in the £74 million business tourism and £16m film promotion economies.

“It undermines the work they do to attract private sector investment which is reinvested in campaigns.

“But all this seemingly doesn’t matter to the council, who want to pull the rug with no obvious contingency or regard for the damage that will be done.

“Consumers have a world of choice, cluttered feeds and a rapidly diminishing attention span. Visitors can easily fly to countless destinations clambering to be chosen, cities throughout the world have woken up to how lucrative the convention and student markets are, and business owners can easily find cheap labour overseas.

Never has it been more competitive for those who seek to be noticed. The modern world of marketing demands that - whether you are a place or a consumer brand - you need to stand out or stand down.”

A council spokeswoman said: “We must remain competitive in order to continue our city’s huge tourism success . In the event of this proposal being accepted, we will discuss new ways of achieving this with our partners.”