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Article published 01/08/2022

What's included in this update

Find out about our recent activity to support tourism recovery for Edinburgh & The Lothians. From industry support to new campaigns and PR activity, read on for the latest tourism updates.

Neil Christison, Regional Director, VisitScotland

Neil Christison site visit

Neil Christison with Andy Haddon founder of Tartan Leisure ltd at the Wave Garden site.

It's been fantastic to get out across Edinburgh and The Lothians in recent weeks to meet tourism businesses, partners and attend events. This included at The Genesis Scottish Open in East Lothian where I joined stakeholders and businesses at the event which has provided a fantastic boost to tourism and hospitality businesses across the region.

The economic value of golf tourism to East Lothian is more than £20 million and it supports more than 600 jobs. 

There really was no better time for the sun to shine, showing off Scotland’s Golf Coast in all its glory to the world and we look forward now to the AIG Women’s Open taking place at Muirfield next month.

It's heartening to see the return of both domestic and international visitors to our city and surrounding areas and welcome them back to our iCentre on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile where staff are on hand to make sure they make the most of their visit. This is a welcome sight for our industry after a difficult two years.

There are still many challenges that remain. Rising costs and staffing problems are a major concern for our industry and we continue to work with our partners to provide the right support for recovery.

There is much to shout about and much to look forward to. Work by East Lothian Council and investment through the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) is helping to manage visitors at popular locations in the region, ensuring the best possible experience for visitors and communities. Innovative developments, such as the world’s longest inflatable assault course at Conifox and the opening of the Virgin Hotel in Edinburgh – with many more to come this year and next.

We’re excited to welcome the return of the Edinburgh Festivals this summer, in its 75th year and having recently launched its 2030 Vision to be a world-leading sustainable festival city. It's a really exciting time for Edinburgh with good progress being made on the creation of a tourism action plan to deliver against the five key pillars of Edinburgh’s 2030 Tourism Strategy; people, place, environment, partnerships, reputation. Edinburgh is in the spotlight with Time Out revealing Edinburgh as the "World's Best City Right Now."

There is nothing quite like the buzz of a live event and we can look forward to many more events taking place across the region this summer, many supported by Scotland's Year of Stories and EventScotland National funding programme. And with innovative new events like Marmalade Messiness at Dalkeith Country Park and the return of Jupiter Rising at Jupiter Artland in August, there really is something for everyone. 

We will continue to work in partnership to ensure that Edinburgh and The Lothians remain front of mind when visitors are planning a trip to Scotland. We have supported local marketing campaigns through the Destination & Sector Marketing Fund, and our own marketing aims to show what a visit to Scotland’s diverse regions can feel like year-round.

The impact of tourism spreads far beyond the industry itself – it benefits our economy, our community and our wellbeing.

VisitScotland’s regional team are happy to help, please get in touch with your enquiry at

It's the summer of Golf

Renaissance Club

2022 is an incredible year for golf in Scotland and East Lothian is benefitting from hosting two major golf tournaments this summer – the Genesis Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club which took place in July and AIG Women’s Open will be held, for the first time, at Muirfield in August.

We have an update on all the golf events taking place and the benefits they bring to the region.

Golf tournaments provide the perfect stage to showcase Scotland’s first-class golf regions and courses to the world and fans from around the world will be able to enjoy stunning images of East Lothian as the tournaments take place.

This exposure is vital if we want to maintain global interest in Scotland’s golf offering and encourage enthusiasts, both men and woman, to make Scotland their number one choice for a golf break.

Neil Christison, VisitScotland Regional Director

Year of Stories 2022

This year, we're celebrating Scotland's Year of Stories. This themed year spotlights, celebrates and promotes the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland.

From icons of literature to local tales, the year aims to encourage locals and visitors to experience a diversity of voices, take part in events and explore the places, people and cultures connected to all forms of our stories, past and present.

Here's some regional highlights: 

  • In April, Community Stories Fund event Festival Family Encounters (part of the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival) was promoted on Forth 1. It was also promoted in April with an Instagram takeover and in May via a native article and "Something for the Weekend" e-news advert with The List. 


  • In May, June and July the Year of Stories campaign with Bauer highlighted Edinburgh International Book Festival on stations including Forth One, Hits, Northsound and MFR. The festival also featured in the July Solas newsletter with The List, as did the Edinburgh International Film Festival. 




  • Several Community Stories Fund events featured in the May Solas newsletter issued by the List: Rekindling the Ceilidh at Three Hares Community Woodland in Midlothian, and in Edinburgh - Stories from the Kist at the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Preserving and Celebrating Edinburgh’s Deaf Heritage and Young Writers, Young Voices. 
  • Then in June, Midsummer Medicine and Storytelling in Midlothian, also part of the Community Stories Fund programme, featured in The List’s "Something for the Weekend" e-news. 


  • Promotion of James Bond Edinburgh itinerary through a paid social media campaign, the image featured an image of the Johnnie Walker attraction (July). 

Watch Scotland's Year of Stories campaign film

Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance (QA) is VisitScotland's official grading scheme for tourism businesses and all our associated schemes. QA ensures that we drive standards across the sector, raising the bar.

We were delighted that recently "The Cheese Lady" in Haddington received a 4 Star Quality Assurance award. The Cheese Lady recently moved to larger premises in the town’s Court Street.

You can read the full story in our news section.

Cheese Lady

Svetlana, the owner of The Cheese Lady with Neil Christison, Regional Director at VisitScotland

East Lothian’s food and drink offering is going from strength to strength with recent innovative developments including the addition of Buck and Birch, producers of wild spirits and liqueurs, and the success of the Drift Café in North Berwick.

East Lothian is also set to be the location for a new food and drink innovation hub, with £40 million funding secured through the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, following on from Scotland’s Food & Drink Country becoming the first Food & Drink Business Improvement District in Scotland in 2016.

Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund update

East Lothian RTIF visit

Rob Dickson, VisitScotland Director of Industry and Destination Development with Councillor John McMillan (Provost)

There have been improvements to facilities at two popular East Lothian coastal locations - Longniddry Bents and Gullane Bents with funding from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

East Lothian Council received £412,830 funding from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund Round Two and Round Three to carry out the changes to the popular beach sites. 

Read on for more information on East Lothian's RTIF achievements.

The Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund can make a real difference to sites across Scotland which have experienced a large volume of visitors and the impact that can have on communities.

These additional facilities will help create a much-improved experience for visitors and help alleviate the pressure on infrastructure and help ensure Longniddry Bents and Gullane Bents remain sustainable visitor destinations for years to come.

Rob Dickson, VisitScotland Director of Industry and Destination Development

Corporate press update

It's been a busy quarter for our corporate press team covering Edinburgh & The Lothians. Regional press activity includes supporting the launch of a new WestJet route to Canada from Edinburgh Airport, and the 25th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter.  


WestJet stakeholders

Some of the highlights include –  

  • To coincide with the Easter holidays and the traditional start of the tourism season, an opinion editorial from Neil Christison was published in the Edinburgh Evening News 

  • An interview by VisitScotland Director of Industry & Destination Development Rob Dickson on STV Edinburgh to mark the completion of Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund improvements at Gullane and Longniddry Bents 

  • The launch of a new partnership marketing campaign between VisitScotland and DFDS Seaways that featured images from Edinburgh and Rosslyn Chapel 

  • The launch of a marketing campaign from Johnnie Walker Princes Street at Edinburgh Airport

2023 Festival City

Edinburgh Festival performer

The Edinburgh Festivals together with the Edinburgh Festivals Forum launched their joint vision for their future.

Launched in the festivals’ 75th anniversary year, Edinburgh: City of Imagination is a vision for a resilient and ambitious Festival City by 2030 – based on the unique value the festivals bring in connecting people, inspiring creative ideas, and bringing places alive in concentrated moments of communal celebration.

Visit the Edinburgh Festival City website to read more about the Edinburgh: City of Imagination vision.

Wavegarden Scotland

Wave Garden, Ratho

Major construction work at Scotland’s newest leisure and staycation facility, Wavegarden Scotland, is underway in Ratho, near Edinburgh.  The £55 million landmark development will include the country’s first inland surfing destination using revolutionary new technology.

The Wavegarden Scotland development is expected to open to the public in Summer 2024 - boosting long term socio-economic, recreational and tourism benefits including creating up to 130 jobs once open, generating up to £11 million for the local economy and attracting over 180,000 visitors each year.

Follow Wavegarden on Facebook to keep up with all their activity and news.

It's fantastic to see innovative investment such as this into the tourism product for Edinburgh and the surrounding area. This unique development will make an impressive addition to the tourism offering in Scotland as a whole, creating jobs and supporting the continued recovery of this vital part of our economy. We look forward to working with the Wavegarden Scotland team as the development continues.

We're committed to championing change to shape the responsible growth of Scotland’s valuable tourism and events industry in a way that respects people and places.

Neil Christison, VisitScotland Regional Director

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