Edinburgh is a major tourism hub and gateway to the rest of Scotland. Every year the city attracts over 4 million visitors, generating 14.4 million bed nights, injecting £1.46 billion into the local economy. A globally connected city, Scotland's Capital has an award-winning reputation as a 'must visit' city for visitors from all over the world.

Global appeal

The Tourism sector is of vital importance to the city's economy. Edinburgh is the world's leading festival city, with 12 international festivals and a host of other major events throughout the year. This year-round festival programme includes the Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh International Science Festival, International Film Festival, International Book Festival, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh's Christmas and Hogmanay and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world. 

In 2015, more than 4.5 million people, both residents and visitors alike, enjoyed the city's year round festivals, equating to a £280m boost for the city economy.

The Edinburgh city region is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites - Edinburgh’s Old and New Towns and the magnificent Forth Rail Bridge are both recognised as sites of significant international importance, while in 2004, UNESCO also named Edinburgh the world’s first ever City of Literature.

Visitors to Scotland’s capital face difficult decisions as to what to see and do. From the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Royal Yacht Britannia to world-class galleries, Edinburgh Zoo (home to the UK’s only giant pandas, Yang Guang and Tian Tian) as well as St Giles Cathedral and The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.  In 2016, The National Museum of Scotland was Edinburgh’s most popular free visitor attraction, with more than 1.82 million visitors, while Edinburgh Castle welcomed the most visitors of any paid-for attraction, with just over 1.78 million visitors.

Convention Edinburgh is the city’s convention bureau and lead organisation responsible for the marketing and promotion of Scotland's capital as a leading meeting, conference, event and incentive destination. According to the International Congress and Convention Association, Edinburgh is the number one conference destination in the UK, after London and the sector is estimated to generate around £300m a year for the city region.

In addition, to provide event organisers that elusive ‘wow’ factor when it comes to choosing a conference venue, the city’s active Ambassador network, coordinated through Convention Edinburgh, offers unparalleled opportunities to create a legacy from major international events.

Scotland's Capital draws in more oversees visitors per year than any other UK city outside London with the main source of Edinburgh's internantional visitors including nationals from The United States of America, Germany, France, Australia and Spain. Discover more Edinburgh tourism related statistics and data in Edinburgh by Numbers.

The city offers a wide variety of top-class tourist accommodation that is designed to suit all budgets and remains one of the most attractive hotel investment destinations in the UK. Edinburgh achieves some of the highest annual hotel occupancy levels in Europe and some of the highest average daily room rates in the UK.

In good company

Edinburgh is a globally connected city that is home to many world-famous tourist attractions. This has resulted in a large number of international hotel brands with a significant presence in the city. Discover More about Edinburgh's Tourism sector, including city based hotels, attractions and transport hubs by exploring our Business Sector Map.

Tailored support

The Invest Edinburgh team offer a bespoke, tailored soft-landing service to companies, investors and developers keen to invest in Edinburgh and the city region. If you would like to find out more about how we can help you and your business establish, relocate or expand within the city region, or would simply like more information about what Edinburgh has to offer, get in touch today.



Get in touch

Investor Support Team

City of Edinburgh Council


Latest tweets

follow us @InvestEdinburgh