Short Life Working Group on Tourism and Communities

The following consultation document seeking input from groups and organisations has been circulated to Merchiston Community Council on behalf of Councillor Donald Wilson, Convener of Culture and Communities.


Tourism in Edinburgh contributes in excess of £2.6 billion per year to the city economy and supports around 40,000 jobs. Edinburgh is the UK’s premier tourist destination outside of London, attracting a record 2.5 million visitors in 2018.

This is broadly welcomed within the city.Responding to the Edinburgh People’s Survey, 94% of citizens agreed that “Festivals, Heritage and Tourism make the city a vibrant and exciting place to live.”

However, for some people, especially those living in the city centre and Old Town, tourism presents a number of challenges. Between 2013 and 2018, the number of people disagreeing with the above statement has risen from 2% to 6%. In the Old Town this registers at 12%.

The City of Edinburgh Council has convened an Elected Member Working Group to take evidence from residents, groups and key stakeholders. This evidence will help shape strategies and initiatives aimed at managing tourism in the city and seeking a balance between the demands of visitors and the needs of residents. These include:

  • Development (during 2019/2020) of a new and refreshed City Tourism Strategy, in partnership with tourism industry as represented by Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG)
  • Proposals and wider consultation on the introduction of a Transient Visitor Levy
  • Detailed discussions with the Scottish Government, residents, property owners and stakeholders on how to better manage and regulate short term letting (for example “Air B&B”)

Key groups and organisation are invited to provide both written and verbal evidence on the matter of tourism and residents.The working group is interested in objective, quantifiable and verifiable information rather than anecdotal evidence. This includes statistics; photographic evidence; surveys quantified reports, research, or investigations.

Written evidence can be submitted from Merchiston Community Council to the Working Group by Monday 6 May. The Working Group does not wish to request a common format, but as a guide, would encourage that submissions consider the following questions:

  • What positive impact does tourism have for the residents of Edinburgh, and the city?
  • What negative impact does tourism have for the residents of Edinburgh, and the city?
  • What strategy and policy measures should be taken to manage the impact of tourism on residents, and the city?

If you wish to provide input on this topic to Merchiston Community Council, please contact us.

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