Coronavirus: trade group calls for Marketing Edinburgh “hibernation” rethink

Edinburgh City Cityscape

UK Hospitality has called on the City of Edinburgh Council to rethink its decision to “hibernate” the tourism organisation Marketing Edinburgh.

The hospitality trade body underlined the key economic role tourism businesses will play as Scotland comes out the other end of the COVID-19 pandemic – and said this regeneration would be “made more difficult” without the support of Marketing Edinburgh.

Willie Macleod, UK Hospitality’s executive director for Scotland, said: “The decision to place Marketing Edinburgh into hibernation and lay off staff will undoubtedly have a very serious knock-on effect for the city’s vital hospitality and tourism sector.

“Hospitality will play a hugely important role in helping to rebuild economies once the crisis has passed. We will need to hit the ground running once it is safe to do so. If Edinburgh, one of the UK’s premier tourist destinations, is unable to market itself as being open for business after the crisis, it could have a devastating effect for future business.

“Without an organisation to lead the recovery process, the city’s hospitality and tourism sectors, already facing unprecedented adversity, will experience significant barriers to recovery and lose competitive advantage to other innovatively marketed destinations.

“We urge the City of Edinburgh Council to rethink its decision. At a time such as this, businesses need all the support they can get.”

The news came as the council announced this year’s Edinburgh Festival is cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.