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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 25/01/2024

Introduction from Neil Christison, Regional Director

I’m delighted to share our first industry update of the year showcasing our work in the last six months. Across the regional teams in VisitScotland, we have been working hand in hand with businesses, partners, and stakeholders across Edinburgh & the Lothians.

Recently, I’ve been working closely with tourism stakeholders on the ‘Visitor Economy and Culture’ delivery programme within Edinburgh & South East Scotland’s regional economic strategy (‘Regional Prosperity Framework’). This work has been done in partnership between VisitScotland, the six local authorities and other strategic partners. We were delighted to see the strong positioning of the visitor economy in this strategy, highlighting the vital role it plays within the regional economy. This allows us to work together to develop and deliver exciting ambitious regional visitor economy projects of scale across Edinburgh and South East Scotland.

In December we enjoyed a tourism networking evening which we held in partnership with Visit East Lothian at the beautiful Whitekirk Hill. Over 60 delegates attended taking the opportunity to meet fellow businesses and hear from key speakers. It's also been great to attend several informative Midlothian Tourism Forum events focusing on crucial topics, such as sustainable and responsible tourism.

And we've been supporting East Lothian Council on a successful Travel Trade development programme, taking a cohort of tourism businesses through a programme to help develop their product and open up new markets for them to benefit from.  

Other highlights include the region featuring in the new BBC Agatha Christies drama, Rebus and the Buccaneers.

Getting out and about, I visited the truly innovative and unique Lost Shore Surf Resort, a £55m investment for Edinburgh boasting a state-of-the-art destination, with a wave pool three times the size of Wembley football pitch. We will continue to support this ambitious project set to open later this year.

And I celebrated the end of 2023 at Edinburgh’s torchlight procession which returned for 2023.

I look forward to the ETAG conference in February to hear about the significant investment in the visitor experience across the city, and the exciting plans for Edinburgh’s visitor economy in 2024 and beyond.

All the best for a successful 2024.


Regional marketing

  • East Lothian autumn 2023 social media campaign

    From 31 August – 12 October we targeted advertising on Facebook and Instagram as part of an East Lothian autumn marketing campaign.

    The messaging of the campaign encouraged people to book an autumn break or take a day trip in East Lothian. 


  • East Lothian DFDS partnership update

    This was in addition to the core VisitScotland partnership campaign with DFDS (the ferry provider). Our East Lothian campaign built upon the messaging of our general campaign, to encourage visitors to choose East Lothian for their break.

    The campaign was live in selected regions of Germany on display advertising, Facebook and Instagram, running from 12 October until 4 December 2023. 

    Throughout the messaging of the campaign, we promoted the DFDS ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle as a travel provider, making the connection between taking your car or camper on the ferry then making the short journey up to East Lothian. 

    You can visit the landing page for the campaign.

  • Autumn 2023 influencer activity

    In September – October we ran two influencer campaigns. One with Edinburgh Spaniels, highlighting East Lothian as a key dog-friendly area, and one with Travel Two, highlighting wellness breaks also in East Lothian. This resulted in activity on instragram, results to follow.

Partnership marketing activity

ScotRail and Beano

With a captured family audience in the summer holidays, we partnered with ScotRail for another phase of our Beano themed family focused promotions. We aimed to promote sustainable days out and geographic spread across the ScotRail network.

Articles published on the back of this activity featured South Queensferry and North Berwick in Edinburgh Live. North Berwick also featured both in print and online with Scottish Daily Express and The Daily Record and Edinburgh featured in Glasgow Live.

We also worked with influencer @alittlebitofclaire, focusing on family days out leveraging ScotRail’s Kids for a Quid promo. It took place in North Berwick.  

Leading up to the October school holidays we used digital advertising for the campaign within the central belt and Edinburgh area to strategically target car commuters. 

Beano campaign


Beano campaign

Edinburgh & Lothians on social

10.8 million reach

Number of times Edinburgh & Lothians content reached people on social media


Reactions, likes, comments, shares and saves of Edinburgh & Lothians posts

1.04 million

Reached. Our top post was a stunning reel of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Global marketing - Scotland's UNESCO trail

Scotland’s UNESCO trail was launched in October 2021 and was designed specifically to support ambitions to showcase Scotland as a world-leading responsible tourism destination.

With dedicated funding made available by the Scottish Government, we launched a marketing campaign in October 2022 which built on the success of previous activity around the launch of the Trail.

With the activity concluded, a series of webinars took place over summer/autumn with Scottish Government, designation site representations and the UK UNESCO Commission to present the results of this activity.

UNESCO web image

We also presented to a meeting of the Nordic UNESCO delegates who were keen to learn more about the development and success of the trail. Our insights team are continuing work on an economic impact report which will be publishing in 2024. 

Read our three ways to complete the trail blog

Travel trade

Travel trade workshop

Our  Intermediary Marketing team held a travel trade workshop in the Apex Waterloo Place Hotel in Edinburgh. Two Edinburgh & Lothians businesses attended. These businesses are at the early stages of their travel trade readiness journey and the event was an important part of accelerating their development.

It was a new event format,  designed for minimal cost and maximum engagement.

In support of our responsible tourism strategy, businesses were selected because of their sustainable product offering and business practices, as well as representing a wide regional spread.

We had very positive feedback from Muckle Brig (Port of Leith & Lime Distilleries) and Belhaven Brewery and look forward to working with them on their travel trade journey.


Travel trade masterclass

In November a travel trade masterclass was held for the cohort of businesses having completed the trade readiness training.

This was initially offered by East Lothian Council and consultant Liz Young, with eight businesses from East Lothian attending Whitekirk Hill.

Businesses heard up-to-date insights and trends from international markets, a refresh of the travel trade distribution landscape, and were encouraged to work cross-business on new bookable product to increase higher visitor spend at quieter times of the year.  

Find out more about trade trade

Edinburgh & the Lothians on

We’ve been reviewing and updating some of our key pages for the region on These are handy to share with your visitors or link to from your website. They include information on how to get to Edinburgh & the Lothians, where to go and where to stay. Here are a few examples:

blogs on

The content team also worked on national content which feature Edinburgh & the Lothians. These are popular with visitors looking for inspiration on where to visit. Here are a couple of examples:

Port of Leith blog

Take a look at

Corporate Press activity

In September, we announced the return of our successful travel trade event – Connect. We also issued a regional media release encouraging local businesses to sign up.

We provided a supporting quote for East Lothian campsite – Drummhor on receiving a 5-Star Quality Assurance (QA) award which received coverage in the Edinburgh Evening News and the Scottish Sun.

In October, we issued a media release on a marketing campaign with DFDS with a focus on East Lothian that was picked up by the Scotsman.

To coincide with Purple Tuesday, we issued a regional media release highlighting work with East Lothian Council to develop AccessAble guides for businesses in the region.  

And in November, an op-ed from Regional Director Neil Christison looked back at tourism across the region in 2023 as well as key highlights for the year ahead.

Thistle Awards final group shot

As part of the Scottish Thistle Awards programme for 2023, we announced businesses shortlisted in the Central & East Thistle Awards in July and then revealed the winners at the regional final in September.

More recently, national winners from East Lothian and Edinburgh featured in coverage of the National Final including in the Times and East Lothian Courier. 

Visit our media centre for more information

Related links