Our response to the draft Tourism Strategy 2030 Consultation

The draft Tourism Strategy 2030 Consultation closes on Sunday (15th December). The accompanying papers are here

We ask neighbours to give your personal responses

The Old Town Community Council has already responded and here is a selection of our answers.

Question 9
Please provide any comments you may have in relation to the theme ‘nurture and develop our PLACE

Answer
Although the strategy document recognises that the City is a place where people live and work, most of the recommendations and aims still seem focused on exploitation of the City as a tourist destination.

Question 11
Please provide any comments you may have in relation to the theme ‘nurture and develop our PEOPLE

Answer
Again, the document tries to marry what are two essentially conflicting goals ie ‘ Tourism developments in the city’s neighbourhoods results in stronger communities and better services for local residents’ is manifestly untrue in the Old Town. The reality is that tourist developments in Old Town have priced out businesses that serve the community (local shops have all become cafes and restaurants, local pubs have become ‘venues’. Workplaces have become ‘serviced apartments’. Residences have become short term lets) and ultimately drive the bone fide citizens out of their City Centre. The tourism workforce will by nature be low paid, temporary and largely imported. Traditional workplaces that properly employ Edinburgh people have already largely been replaced by tourist developments. Sorry, but your document can only be described as mostly wishful thinking.

Question 13
Please provide any comments you may have in relation to the theme ‘nurture and develop our ENVIRONMENT

Answer
Recommendations don’t go nearly far enough. Zero carbon? Not when you continue to licence the operators of tour busses; grossly oversize, mostly half full, diesel vehicles that trundle through the heart of the Old Town every few minutes, clogging our streets, severely detracting from and degrading our environment. and this in a Centre barely a mile square, that can easily be viewed on foot. Never mind the vast tourist coaches that you allow to just park anywhere while they wait on their cargo. (yes, check outside Apex Hotels, Jury’s Inn, Edinburgh Tattoo or any other hotels.)

Question 15
Please provide any comments you may have in relation to the theme ‘nurture and develop our PARTNERSHIPS

Answer
In this area we don’t see ANY reference or even lip service to the people of Edinburgh, particularly those who still live or work in the worst afflicted areas like the Old Town, being ‘stakeholders’ or part of any ‘partnerships’. ETAG is of course almost entirely composed of bodies with vested interests in more tourism, and no representatives of the citizenry.

Question 17
Please provide any comments you may have in relation to the theme ‘nurture and develop our REPUTATION

Answer
Again, a lot of hot air here. Edinburgh has attracted much attention in the media regarding over-tourism and the dissatisfaction of the local populace. And no, even the tourists are appalled at the low standard of tat proffered to them. As for the cultural offerings, The YouTube ‘no Edinburgh in the Festival’ by Bonny Price Bob, sums it up very nicely; events have become more and more elitist, and less than ever to do with anything Edinburgh. Then the winter attractions have much damaged the reputation of this City. A sell-out without consultation or proper consent, to the interests of outside event organisers and the drinks industry. Not to mention the continued acceptance of the Old Town as a top destination for ‘binge drinking’

Question 18
Please provide any further comments you may have in relation to the draft Edinburgh Tourism Strategy 2030

Answer
We are afraid to say that in most parts the draft Strategy contains much wishful thinking as to how the tourist industry, who’s remit is to maximise the exploitation of our ‘resource’ at any cost, can be reconciled with the desires and expectations of the populace. It fails to recognise or in any way to stand up to the massively powerful vested interests of the hotel and the drinks industry in the way that they use their power to distort the perception of the overall value of tourism to the people of Edinburgh. (ask who does the ‘Whisky Experience’ really benefit ? ). The recommendations, where they serve the community, are far too weak, and show a lack of understanding of how mass tourism, especially the relatively new phenomenon of budget tourism, has a gross effect on the City as a place to live or to work. Tourism needs to be managed from the top down if it is to add value to, and enhance our City for the population, whereas more tourism as promoted by ETAG has proven to much damage and degrade our city. Finally, a good part of the money raised by tourism, for instance by the TVL, should go towards ameleorating the damage caused. (controlling pollution, litter, noise, and repairing and improving infrastructure, kerbs, pavements etc) and not to promoting even more tourism. Our problems are for the most part not unique to Edinburgh, they are felt and dealt with in all major tourist destinations around the globe. Edinburgh should seek to lead. Not to lag behind …

%d bloggers like this: