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Season to celebrate

Press Release   •   Apr 18, 2017 12:58 BST

Tourism businesses in Edinburgh and the Lothians are preparing for a busy tourism season and VisitScotland’s Regional Director, Manuela Calchini, is looking ahead to a number of exciting new events as well as the celebration of some returning favorites this year.

Manuela Calchini, VisitScotland’s Regional Director for Edinburgh and the Lothians, said: “As the 2017 tourism season gets into full swing across the region, we have much to be excited about, especially as we began celebrations for the 70th anniversary of Edinburgh as ‘the’ festival city.

“With an array of actors, authors, singers, dancers, street performers, comedians, and musicians, Edinburgh will once again come alive with an atmosphere which simply cannot be matched anywhere in the world.

“Established to create ‘a flowering of the human spirit’ after World War II with the first Edinburgh International Festival, the capital has blossomed into the world’s leading festival city. From the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June, to the International Storytelling Festival in October and Hogmanay in December, the festivals will no doubt mark this special year in style.

“Major events and festivals, like the Edinburgh festivals, don’t just provide some of the best entertainment anywhere in the world either – they also represent a multi-million pound benefit – generating jobs and enhancing the whole region’s economy.”

2017 is also Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology with a host of exciting events taking place across Edinburgh and the Lothians to celebrate the themed year.

Manuela said: “With over one third of visitors drawn to Scotland for its history and culture, the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is an exciting opportunity to relive Edinburgh and the Lothians fascinating past. Already home to twoUNESCO World Heritage Sites in the Edinburgh Old and New Town and The Forth Bridge, the region is simply bursting with history and heritage.

“The capital has already embraced the themed year with last month’s Edinburgh’s Georgian Shadows proving a hit with locals and visitors alike. The event, which light up the New Town, was a fantastic way to kick off Year of History, Heritage and Archeology in the area, commemorating the 250th anniversary of James Craig’s New Town plan in style.

“There’s plenty more to come too with Tradfest later this month, a vibrant twelve-day showcase of Scotland’s thriving traditional arts while, in September, Musselburgh will host East Lothian Battle weekend. The two day event will see the drama of Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in 1574 come to life through a spectacular reenactment.

“Over in Midlothian the themed year will be celebrated with the first ever Midlothian Heritage Week (1-7 May). From a tour of the pithead at the National Mining Museum of Scotland to medieval music at Rosslyn Chapel, the week-long celebration of Midlothian’s rich history and heritage is another great example of the region taking advantage of the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.”

There are also a number a top-class sporting events to look forward to across the region.

Manuela added: “Edinburgh and the Lothians will host some really great sport events this season too. After the drama of the 6 Nations games earlier this year, the capital will play host to two showpiece matches in May with final of both the European Rugby Challenge Cup and the Champions Cup being held at Murrayfield.

“For those looking to get more involved in the sporting action, IRONMAN 70.3 should provide quite the challenge in July. The endurance event, taking place for the first time in Edinburgh and the Lothians, will start with a 1.2 mile sea swim from Gosford Sands on the Firth of Forth before a 56 mile bike road through East Lothian is rounded off with a multi-lap, 13.1 mile, run within Holyrood Park.”

It’s not just events that look set to be a big hit with visitors this season, Edinburgh and the Lothians’ world-class attractions will also be on hand to provide some unforgettable experiences.

Manuela said: “We are truly blessed with some of the world’s best visitor attractions right here on our doorstep. Recent figures have shown that the attractions in Edinburgh and the Lothians continue to draw more and more visitors every year. From the National Museum of Scotland and Edinburgh Castle to the Five Sisters Zoo and the Scottish Seabird Centre there is a fantastic spread of attractions to enjoy right across the region.

“I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a fantastic tourism season – I look forward to working with you all to make it one of our best yet.”      

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
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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