What stories could Edinburgh’s streets, historic buildings and outdoor spaces tell us about the present and the past?

This is a question set to be answered by the City’s new marketing campaign called ‘Forever Edinburgh – The Story Never Ends’.

The City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG) and VisitScotland, have devised the campaign to bring to life the Capital’s dynamic stories and the unique experiences to be had around every corner in the city. The campaign promotes the city’s fabulous attractions, shops, bars and restaurants at a time when lockdown is easing, allowing people greater freedom to travel, meet up and spend time together once again.

The campaign will highlight all that Edinburgh has to offer, both in the centre and its neighbourhoods, and will also focus on the abundance of outdoor spaces, including coastal and waterway locations, to support the recovery of regions surrounding the city. The aim is to show how versatile the city we love to live in is, and how it delivers a fantastic visitor experience throughout the year.

Over the next six to twelve months, the campaign will feature a series of summer and winter-themed films that will bring Edinburgh’s fascinating stories to life, from its fantastic folklore and magical myths to its historic shores and waters. It will tell stories from beyond the grave and take a look at Edinburgh’s tasty past and present. Themed itineraries will invite citizens and visitors to explore undiscovered parts of Edinburgh, with more exciting chapters still to be revealed.

The campaign will also include inspiring imagery and dedicated story-themed content and itineraries on Edinburgh.org. This will be supported by targeted social media promotion and collaboration with industry partners and tourism businesses to help them tell their own stories to their loyal fans and audiences.

The aim will be to position Edinburgh as the top UK city break destination among domestic overnight visitors from Scotland and England as lockdown restrictions are eased, while encouraging those of us who live here to engage more with Edinburgh’s cultural offer.   

The bodies behind it want to encourage businesses and residents to share their own stories of Edinburgh using #ForeverEdinburgh, to inspire friends and others living here to help them plan their next outing in Scotland’s capital city.

Councillor Adam McVey, City of Edinburgh Council Leader, said: “Forever Edinburgh – The Story Never Ends is designed to inspire people to get out and about safely and confidently as they seek out old favourites and discover new ones – creating memories that will last a lifetime. All the while supporting our vibrant local businesses as Edinburgh gets back to its fabulous self.

“This campaign puts our people, place and environment at its heart and mirrors our longer-term tourism strategy, approved just before the pandemic took hold. We’re sticking with our long-term goals and have mapped out a sustainable way forward for our tourism sector which Edinburgh’s residents asked for. Ultimately, we need a Team Edinburgh approach to deliver on those aspirations. 

“So, I encourage our residents, our businesses from retail and hospitality and our tourism sector to celebrate all that is great about our Capital by telling their own stories and bringing the beauty of our city and landscapes to life.  Our story is ever-changing and never-ending, and we want our residents and visitors to be a part of that too, helping support our local economy and our City’s fair, inclusive and sustainable recovery.”

Donald Emslie, Chair of Edinburgh Tourism Action Group, said:  “The reopening of the sector on 26th April is hugely welcome news and after the turmoil of the last year, it is vitally important that we support the recovery of our tourism and hospitality sector throughout the coming weeks and months. We are looking forward to encouraging residents and visitors to get out and about to experience the best our city has to offer and supporting our local businesses in the process.

“We will of-course be doing this in the face of strong competition from destinations right across the UK, all of whom will be working just as hard to attract visitors, particularly from UK and Scottish markets. We are therefore delighted to have been champions of the Forever Edinburgh initiative since last year. Chairing the Forever Edinburgh Working Group over the last few months has ensured a true partnership approach which has been gratefully recognised by both VisitScotland and Scottish Government whose funding support has allowed us to develop a promotional platform that can work for all tourism and hospitality businesses across the city. 

“We’d like to invite everyone right across the city to get behind the campaign and to create and share their own stories with locals and visitors alike.”

Paula Ward, Regional Leadership Director at VisitScotland, said: “Edinburgh is Scotland’s tourism crown jewels and this exciting campaign will help to reinvigorate the city’s tourism sector as it recovers from the devastation left by the pandemic. It is the city’s stories and people that are the foundation of what makes Edinburgh a world-class visitor destination. Forever Edinburgh will not only showcase the experiences and businesses found across the city but will act as a springboard for the surrounding regions, with dedicated regional pages, spreading the benefits of tourism to the capital in a sustainable and responsible way. For tourism is a force for good – creating economic and social value in every corner of Scotland and enhancing the well-being of everyone who experiences it.”

The ‘Forever Edinburgh – The Story Never Ends’ campaign has been part funded by the Scottish Government’s Regional Recovery Fund and VisitScotland’s Market Readiness Fund.

It will build on last year’s launch of Forever Edinburgh – a city-wide collaboration of business from the tourism and hospitality sectors, alongside the Council and other partners, including VisitScotland, ETAG and Scottish Enterprise – and the #ShopHereThisYear, a year-long digital campaign, aimed at Edinburgh residents encouraging them to support local businesses in neighbourhoods across the city, which began late last year.