The most positive scenario estimates that if all the major stakeholders (Scottish Enterprise, Visit Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council and tourism businesses) work collectively and embrace the opportunity, then giant pandas could bring extra visitor expenditure of £28m to Edinburgh’s economy and £20m to the Scottish economy over ten years.
The report also suggests that the equivalent of 55 jobs or equivalent working hours could be supported and safeguarded across Edinburgh and 38 across Scotland, predominately in the leisure and retail sector. Direct beneficiaries are predicted to be those who serve tourists as part of their job – hotels, shops, pubs and restaurants, taxi drivers, airline staff; indirect beneficiaries will be those from anywhere in the Scottish economy, such as people who supply goods and services to the direct beneficiary businesses; included beneficiaries will be business who serve employees of the direct beneficially businesses.
Hugh Roberts, CEO of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said:
“Although RZSS brought the giant pandas to Scotland in line with our own conservational aims, we are of course delighted that as a charity we have been able to bring this opportunity to Edinburgh and Scotland and would recommend a partnership approach to giant pandas. Our organisation has created so many valuable partnerships across a range of partners and interests, and we will continue to do so during the duration of the pandas’ time in Scotland. The panda are great fun and just wonderful and we hope everyone continues to enjoy them”.
Eddie Brogan, Director of Tourism, Scottish Enterprise comments:
“The study shows there is significant scope to build on the interest the giant pandas have already generated to deliver substantial economic benefit to Edinburgh and Scotland. The report highlights a number of opportunities and new ideas about how to maximise the impact of the pandas' popularity. For example, we believe there is significant further potential to attract family groups, particularly from outwith Scotland, to support the growth of tourism with the pandas as a key attraction.”
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:
“The giant pandas have undoubtedly proved a giant hit among visitors to Edinburgh and, popular among people of all ages, Tian Tian and Yang Guang are now two of the city’s must-see attractions. But it is not only Edinburgh Zoo which benefits from the pandas, with hotels, restaurants and, indeed, other visitor attractions also able to cash in. It is vital that members of Scotland’s tourism industry continues to work together to make the most of the fantastic opportunity and collectively boost Scotland’s visitor economy. We welcome the findings of this report which shows, in black and white, the huge potential value of these wonderful creatures to the Scottish economy.”
Robin Worsnop, Chair, Edinburgh Tourism Action Group, adds:
"The pandas have already been a great hit in Edinburgh and this report demonstrates the potential for creating additional tourism impact for both Edinburgh and Scotland. The Edinburgh Tourism Strategy, which has a target of growing visitor spend by nearly £0.5 billion by 2020, highlights the importance of the tourism industry working collaboratively together to fully optimise the impact of the city's unique tourism assets and the pandas are a great example of this.”
Although the report purely examines the potential visitor expenditure related economic impacts associated with the giant pandas, it does not account for any of the potentially substantial conservation, trade, science, education and cultural impacts of the project.
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