Portobello is set to become the Capital’s must-visit destination this summer for many ‘staycation’ Brits following the announcement of two projects that will provide a boost to both local business and tourism.

It was announced today that Scotland’s leading charity for the environment, Keep Scotland Beautiful, has awarded Portobello, Edinburgh’s Seaside, the coveted ‘Resort Status’ Beach Award.

Meanwhile the City of Edinburgh Council has launched a scheme, ‘Shop on the Prom’, to promote links between the Promenade and the High Street through a ‘shop window’ visual display located next to the Fun City amusement arcade.

Councillor Gordon Munro, Vice-Convener of Economic Development, said: “Portobello Beach has long been a favourite with both residents and visitors but not everyone realises all that the town has to offer. Following the Seaside Award, this summer Portobello will be firmly on the tourist’s map. We’re also hoping some local residents will venture down to explore Edinburgh’s Seaside as well – giving a boost to the local economy.

“In addition to this, the ‘Shop on the Prom’ initiative will help connect the Promenade with Portobello High Street and hopefully draw some of the visitors to the award-winning beach up on to the main shopping thoroughfare.

“To do this we’ve transformed an unsightly development site on Portobello Promenade and converted it into a ‘shop window’ reflection of Portobello High Street.  The idea is to encourage people to get to know their local shopkeepers.”

Over the last month Portobello businesses taking part have been perfecting their smiles and window displays for a visit by the photographer. The images will later be given to each business for use in their own promotions on and offline.The visual display on Portobello Promenade will be in place all through the summer – at the height of the tourist season. This initiative is part of the Economic Development team’s Town Centre co-ordinator’s sustained effort to Building Stronger Town Centres in Edinburgh – promoting key areas of the city as shopping and visiting destinations in their own right. The ‘Resort Status’ Beach Award from Keep Scotland Beautiful recognises not only the high standard of the beach but also the quality of the shops and facilities nearby.

Applicants had to demonstrate how 28 criteria are met – including aspects of litter management, information provision, risk assessment and safety procedures, and water quality. The judges claimed to have been “very impressed” with the submission put forward by the Council.

Derek Robertson, Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Chief Executive, said: “With an increasing number of people choosing to take their holidays at home in Scotland, there has never been a better time to enjoy your local City of Edinburgh beach. The Seaside Award highlights that this beach is an important resource to the local economy and that it is your beach to enjoy.

He added: “I am delighted to welcome City of Edinburgh to the award scheme –  over the last 12 years the number of Seaside Awards in Scotland has more than quadrupled, there were just 13 in 2000, so I would like to pay tribute to all the hard work that goes in to achieving this award by City of Edinburgh Council and the local community, and I would encourage everyone, particularly in this economic climate, to make use of the fantastic beaches we have around the Scottish coast this summer”.