Councillors have given their support to a city-wide campaign recognising the importance of the tourism and hospitality sector to Edinburgh’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Councillors approve £55,000 funding contribution to city-wide tourism recovery campaign
- Funding is dependent on plans being aligned with Council’s net zero carbon by 2030 ambition
- Comes as Scottish Government announced pubs, restaurants and holiday accommodation can re-open from 15 July
The £55,000 funding has been approved subject to the campaign’s plans being aligned with the Council’s ambitions of net zero carbon by 2030.
The campaign will provide urgent action against the likely loss of 18,000 jobs and £1bn of revenue in the tourism and hospitality sector this year. It will encourage both Edinburgh residents and, at a later date, those from further afield to return to the city and support local businesses that rely on the industry.
The Council will also support the campaign further through provision of services in kind, including the creation of a dedicated team within the council and maintenance of existing Marketing Edinburgh owned assets.
The support comes as the Scottish Government announced further easing of lockdown measures with pubs, restaurants and holiday accommodation re-opening from Wednesday 15 July. The relaxed measures will also see dentists allowed to open from Monday with limited services and hairdressers from Wednesday, with enhanced hygiene measures in place. Plans are also being put in place by the Council to allow the safe re-opening of libraries, community centres, museums and galleries as soon as possible following 15 July.
Council Leader, Adam McVey, said: “This pandemic has presented us with several unforeseen challenges and we, as a Council, are being faced with many demands financially. We recognise, however, that the Tourism and Hospitality industry has been incredibly hard hit over the last few months. Edinburgh has an incredibly vibrant hospitality offer which we all take advantage of as somewhere to eat, drink and meet loved ones and huge part of that success is based on the high level of visitors keeping so many of our brilliant businesses going. We need to take urgent action to ensure that we can build the sector back as fairly and sustainably as possible.
“We very much welcome the First Minister’s update advising that the industry can start getting back into gear from 15 July and we need to continue supporting the reopening of our city. We have a crucial role to play in supporting businesses’ success as they recover from the pandemic, and we must take a Team Edinburgh approach to this, working with our partners to achieve Edinburgh’s potential and pave our way out of this crisis.”
Depute leader, Cammy Day, said: "While our focus is on the long-term creation of a sustainable economy, it’s clear there is a need for a short-term campaign to get us there following the Scottish Government’s announcement yesterday. We’re taking a Team Edinburgh approach to the City’s wider economic recovery, supporting local businesses to create a more sustainable economy, and with that, supporting local jobs. We have to work together to secure the best possible outcome for our city and we anticipate that the support agreed today will be matched within the wider industry.
“Longer term, we need to ensure we can move quickly and adapt as needed to Edinburgh’s specific circumstances while making sure our actions are sustainable and in line with the future plans for our city.”
Non-Executive Chairman of Edinburgh Tourism Action Group, Donald Emslie, said: “It has been clear from the outset that the tourism sector in Edinburgh was going to be very hard hit by the COVID19 crisis and we are delighted that the Council has recognised the need to work with ETAG in order to do what we can to support businesses and minimise job losses. At the same time, we are extremely conscious of the need to put public safety first and therefore the campaign activity will aim to both inspire and inform visitors, to ensure that tourism recovers in a safe and responsible manner.”
Chair of Old Town Community Council, Sam Piacentini, said: “The tourism and hospitality sector plays a hugely important role in providing much needed jobs for the citizens of Edinburgh. Without a collective effort to support local businesses in communities right across the city, we stand to lose thousands of jobs resulting in long-term social and economic impacts for years to come.
“We therefore very much welcome this announcement of Council support, which will enable partners to work collectively to secure the future of an industry which not only provides 34,000 jobs, but makes Edinburgh such a special place to live. The initial focus of the campaign will be on informing and inspiring citizens of Edinburgh to re-discover their own city in a safe and responsible way.”