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No illusions over Capital knowledge

Press Release   •   Sep 21, 2017 10:53 BST

Andrew Johnson, Director and General Manager of Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, with Manuela Calchini, Regional Director for VisitScotland, in the Giant Kaleidosphere at Camera Obscura & World of Illusions. Photographer: Gareth Easton

Despite being renowned for its mind-boggling illusions, the world’s most fun place will also be dazzling visitors with its local knowledge.

Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, Edinburgh’s oldest visitor attraction, has become part of an impressive network of VisitScotland Information Partners (VIPs) committed to providing local information to visitors.

Dubbed by TripAdvisor as the most fun place in the world, the attraction has a five-star Quality Assurance grading from the national tourism organisation. Visitors can enjoy the outstanding Camera Obscura Show, fantastic views of Edinburgh and six floors packed full of an amazing range of optical experiences which have been amusing people of all ages and nationalities since 1853.

With a remit for proactively providing visitors with information about the city, the business has always helped people make the most of their venture to Scotland’s Capital. It therefore made perfect sense for the attraction to get involved with VisitScotland’s exciting approach to information provision. The new official accreditation will add value to the service they offer and make it easier than ever before for visitors to connect with local businesses.

Launched in May 2016, the VIP programme ties in with the national tourism organisation’s global Spirit of Scotland campaign and harnesses the local knowledge, warmth and enthusiasm of partners across the country to help visitors receive the warmest of welcomes and make the most of their trip to Scotland.

It has been very popular in Edinburgh and the Lothians with accommodation providers, visitor attractions and social enterprises all joining up to do their bit to ensure visitors receive first-class information about the region and Scotland as a whole. Camera Obscura & World of Illusions is joined by 162 other businesses in the area such as John Muir’s Birthplace in Dunbar and Tantallon Caravan and Camping Park in North Berwick.

Andrew Johnson, Director and General Manager of Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, said: “We are delighted to be a VisitScotland Information Partner. Having always provided help and local information to visitors, it’s great to be a member of a programme that recognises and supports this key aspect of our service. VisitScotland are an invaluable partner and we look forward to our continued work with them.”

Manuela Calchini, Regional Director for VisitScotland, said: “It is fantastic to see Camera Obscura and the World of Illusions among the many businesses across Edinburgh and the Lothians who have joined the VIP programme. Not only is it one of the world’s most innovative and exciting attractions, but also a friendly and welcoming place where visitors can expect a high standard of local knowledge.

“The VIP programme celebrates and supports tourism providers as they act as local ambassadors and help provide information, assistance and advice on all there is to see and do here. This follows a growing trend among consumers to use online resources to plan their trips and we now have partners throughout the country providing high quality information and advice to visitors with whom they interact.”

The programme forms part of VisitScotland’s focus on information which also includes a global online community to allow Scots and those who love Scotland to bring alive the streets, characters and landscapes of our country.

The scheme is open to all Quality Assured businesses, as well as community groups, local authority-operated library services and social enterprises. VisitScotland provides the partner sites with official signage and collateral, promotional material and information resources to make sure visitors receive an excellent standard of information about the area and the rest of Scotland. For more information, visit

To find out more about Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, visit

To find out more about the VisitScotland online community, visit: 

Notes to Editors

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  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
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  • 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit or join the conversation at #HHA2017