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The Main Tourist Destinations Of Edinburgh Tourism Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Tourism
Wordcount: 4333 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Tourism is not a new phenomenon: Smith (2004:25) noted: ‘tourism and travel have been part of the human experience from millennia’, describing it as a form of nomadism that characterizes Homo sapiens, which is both normal and, under the right condition, pleasurable. However, in the last thirty years, most certainly with the rise of the jet aircraft, tourism has grown in significant and emerged as a global phenomenon, affecting an increasing range of environments and attracting new markets as opportunities for travel have widened. In essence, tourism is associated with the following issues that simplifies of what it mean by ‘tourism’.

Travelling away from one’s home for 24 hours.

Using one’s leisure time to travel and take holidays.

Travelling for business.

Tourism is part of a global process of change and development which is no longer confined to the developed countries that traditionally provided the demand for world travel.

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland is situated on Scotland’s East Coast on the south side of the Firth Of Forth. Home of the Scottish parliament, Edinburgh is enriched with culture, fine architecture and hosts of one of the most prestigious universities in the United Kingdom, The University of Edinburgh. The most well known attractions are Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, the Holyrood Palace and The National Gallery of Scotland. With a population of 435,790 in 2005, Edinburgh is Scotland’s second largest city after Glasgow. 

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Tourism is a major industry in Edinburgh. The cities popularity grows each year and is now the most popular destination of tourists visiting Scotland and second only to London of tourists visiting the United Kingdom. The city has always been prosperous but its popularity and status has increased since the Scottish Parliament was established in the city in 1999. Edinburgh an important commercial centre and has improved its financial status through decentralisation, which has increased the number of government services in the city and attracted businesses to Edinburgh.


Map of Edinburgh

Main Tourist Destinations of Edinburg:

Isle of Skye:

The Isle of Skye is famed for its romantic and picturesque hills with rugged ridges and its remote coastline and sea lochs. The Red Hills (or Red Cuillin) and Cuillin (or Black Cuillin) are the most well-known ranges with the Old Man of Storrs a well-known feature. Come home to Skye, the world’s favourite island, recently voted ‘4th best island in the world by National Geographic magazine’ and movie film location of ‘BLESSED’, starring James Nesbitt.

Approximately 400,000 visitors go to the Isle of Skye each year.

Royal yacht Britannia:

The Yacht today looks just as she would have appeared to Royal honeymooners, world leaders, and the thousands that visited her during years of faithful service. Visitor numbers have dramatically exceeded expectations, with 436,000 paying visitors in the first year. It was judged the best new tourist attraction in the UK in 1999, and was awarded a Five Star Visitor Attraction rating by the Scottish Tourist Board in 2001.

Approximately 350,000 visitors go to the Royal yacht Britannia each year.

Edinburgh Dungeon:

A recent addition to Edinburgh Dungeon is the Mary King’s Ghost display, which has won rave reviews from many visitors. The realistic exhibit focuses on 1646, during the British Civil Wars, and an era when periodic outbreaks of the plague that had ravaged Great Britain since the 14th century was a threat feared by one and all.

Approximately 300,000 visitors go to the Edinburgh Dungeon each year.

Linlithgow Place:

Linlithgow Palace was once a magnificent palace built and lived in by successive Stewart kings and where Mary Queen of Scots was born. Though in ruins now, it is still an impressive and exciting site and provides a wonderful opportunity to investigate life at the court of the Stewart monarchs. Linlithgow’s origins are lost in the mists of time.  It is likely that the town grew up around the royal residence.  By the beginning of the 12th Century King David 1st’s Charter reveals it already well-established as a burgh with a mansion and a church, given by King David to the newly founded Augustinian Priory of St Andrews.  Malcolm IV and Wiliam the Lion are known to have lived in Linlithgow occasionally and there was a school in William’s reign.

Approximately 350,000 visitors go to the Linlithgow Place each year.

Loch Ness:

The Great Glen in the Scottish highlands is a rift valley 60 miles long and contains thj,ree famous lochs, Lochy, Oich and Ness. The most famous of these is Loch Ness because of the monster said to ‘lurk’ in its deep waters.  It is deeper than the North Sea and is very long and very, very narrow and has never been known to freeze.

Approximately 250,000 visitors go to the Loch Ness each year.

Museum of Edinburgh:

The Museum of Edinburgh is housed in a series of 16th to 18th century buildings arranged around a close – a street with an entrance but no exit. The writer Robert Chambers called the property the ‘speaking house’ because of the 16th century Latin inscriptions on the front of the building. By the 19th century the rooms were so sub-divided that 323 tenants lived there in 1851.

Approximately 400,000 visitors go to the Museum of Edinburgh each year.

Stirling Castle:

Stirling Castle is a great symbol of Scottish independence and a source of enduring national pride. The castle’s long, turbulent history is associated with great figures from Scotland’s past, such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots.

Approximately 250,000 visitors go to the Stirling Castle each year.

Royal Mile:


People have been living on Castlehill for the last 7000 years . The castle area has been a hillfort for over 2000 years. The name Edinburgh comes from the ancient Gaelic “Dun Eidyn” which means ‘hill fort on the sloping ridge’. The Royal Mile runs down the East shoulder of this once active volcano and this is what gives the Royal mile its distinguishable geographical location. It was 325 million years ago during an ice age that the immense pressure of moving glaciers carved out its profile.

Approximately 300,000 visitors go to the Royal Mile each year.

Loch Lomond:

Loch Lomond is a freshwater loch lying on the Highland Boundary Fault, the boundary between the lowlands of Central Scotland and the Highlands. It is 39 kilometres (24 mi) long and between 1.21 kilometres (0.75 mi) and 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) wide. It has an average depth of about 37 metres (121 ft), and a maximum depth of about 190 metres (620 ft). Its surface area measures 71 km2 (27 sq mi), and it has a volume of 2.6 km3 (0.62 cu mi). Of all lakes in Great Britain, it is the largest by surface area, and the second largest (after Loch Ness) by water volume. Within the United Kingdom, it is surpassed only by Lough Neagh and Lower Lough Erne in Northern Ireland.

Approximately 300,000 visitors go to the Loch Lomond each year.

Edinburg Castle:

Edinburgh Castle has dominated its surroundings with majesty for centuries. Today the castle continues to attract visitors to its rocky perch. Edinburgh’s Castle rock has been a stronghold for over 3000 years.

Approximately 1,000,000 visitors go to the Edinburg Castle each year.

Arthur’s Seat:

Arthur’s Seat is the main peak of the group of hills which form most of holy rood Park, a wild piece of highland landscape in the centre of the city of Edinburgh, about a mile to the east of Edinburgh Castle. The hill rises above the city to a height of 251 m (823 ft), provides excellent panoramic views of the city, is quite easy to climb, and is a popular walk. Though it can be climbed from almost any direction, the easiest and simplest ascent is from the East, where a grassy slope rises above Dunsa pie Loch.

Approximately 250,000 visitors go to the Arthur’s Seat each year.

National gallery of Scotland:

The National Gallery of Scotland, in Edinburgh, is the national art gallery of Scotland. An elaborate neoclassical edifice, it stands on The Mound, between the two sections of Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens. The building, which was designed by William Henry Playfair, first opened to the public in 1859.

Approximately 350,000 visitors go to the National gallery of Scotland each year.

Princes Street:

Princes Street is one of the major thoroughfares in central Edinburgh, Scotland, and its main shopping street. It is the southernmost street of Edinburgh’s New Town, stretching around 1 mile (1.6 km) from Lothian Road in the west to Leith Street in the east. The street is mostly closed to private cars, with public transport given priority. The street has virtually no buildings on the south side, allowing panoramic views of the Old Town, Edinburgh Castle, and the valley between.

Approximately 450,000 visitors go to the Princes Street each year.


S/L No


No of tourist in each year

Tourist Expenditures (£)

By UK visitors

By foreign visitors


Isle of Skye



Royal yacht Britannia



Edinburgh Dungeon



Linlithgow Place



Loch Ness



Museum of Edinburgh



Stirling Castle



Royal Mile



Loch Lomond



Edinburg Castle



Arthur’s Seat



National gallery of Scotland



Princes Street




Isle of Skye

The Island of Skye, situated off the West coast of Mainland Scotland, is the largest and best known of the Inner Hebrides.

The island has been occupied since the Mesolithic period and has a colourful history including a time of Norse rule and a long period of domination by Clan MacLeod and Clan Donald.

It is famed and renowned for its romantic and picturesque hills with rugged ridges and its remote coastline and sea lochs. Moreover it’s spectacular scenery, vibrant culture and heritage, and its abundant wildlife including the Golden Eagle, Red Deer and Atlantic Salmon.

Skye has a strong musical tradition reaching back through the centuries, and for an island of less than ten thousand people it has given the world a long list of renowned artists in a surprising variety of genres.

Gaelic culture and heritage pervade the atmosphere, each part of the Island having its own tales of times past and plans for the future.

The residents are pretty self-sufficient, living off the island livestock and wild venison, baking their own bread and growing their own fruit and vegetables while foraging for mushrooms when in season.

The largest employer on the island and its environs is the public sector, which accounts for about a third of the total workforce, principally in administration, education and health. The second largest employer in the area is the distribution, hotels and restaurants sector, highlighting the importance of tourism.

Royal Yacht Britannia

Britannia is owned by The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, a non-profit making charity, and all proceeds go towards her long-term maintenance.

The Royal Yacht Britannia hit the seas in 1953, and took the British royal family around the world from then until 1997, when she was decommissioned.

Britannia is berthed alongside the stylish Ocean Terminal shopping centre which contains a choice of over 80 different boutiques, high-street shops and restaurants with scenic waterfront views.

The Royal taste in maritime furnishings as roaming through the sun lounge and state apartments, marvel at the Queen’s on-board Rolls Royce garage, and finish with scones and champagne on the deck, now a tea room with a fine sea view.

To be able to see all different sections of the ship and have the relevant audio commentary was fascinating. Highly recommend taking tea in the cafe on the Royal Deck.

Every part of Britannia includes rich treasures to enjoy. Almost all the pieces in the State Apartments are on loan from The Royal Collection, with kind permission of the Majesty the Queen.

A unique five-star visitor experience and recommended by BBC News as “Scotland’s leading visitor-friendly attraction”, The Royal Yacht Britannia is an essential visit whilst in Edinburgh. For over forty years, the Royal Yacht sailed over one million miles on nearly a thousand official visits for the British Royal Family. Now berthed in Edinburgh’s historic port of Leith, Britannia is a fascinating visitor attraction.

Edinburgh Dungeon

Edinburgh Dungeon is a fascinating and fun family day out that will entertain and enliven ticket holders who venture into its impressive entry and descend into another bygone world.

The many impressive features of Edinburgh Dungeon are the Anatomy Theatre, which demonstrates just how unhygienic a pre-industrial anatomical workshop was, with none of the modern sanitary conditions, equipment or medicines that are taken for granted today.

The Clan Wars exhibition itself features a run-down of the bloody internecine warfare waged between the old Scottish clans of the Highlands and Lowlands, with realistic mock-ups in period costume, and armed with a fearsome array of weapons.

The history on which these gruesome attractions of Edinburgh Dungeon are based – hangings at the Grassmarket, Plague victims abandoned to die – may be real, but the treatment, complete with actor-led ‘experiences’ and rides, is true theater.

Linlithgow palace:

It was particularly popular amongst the queens. Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I lived there as babies.

Linlithgow Palace is the classic romantic ruin, steeped in royal history and set beside a picturesque loch. It was begun in 1424 on the site of another palace that burnt down.

In Annet House in the High Street is the Linlithgow Story, with displays and exhibits explaining the history of the town. There are also herb, fruit tree and flower gardens.

it is a ruined Palace (looks like a castle) with spiral staircases, parapets, hinges from the draw bridge, lake views, and lots of rooms to roam through

There’s an impressive great hall and a magnificent three-tiered fountain in the courtyard

At the Linlithgow Canal Centre in Manse Road is a small museum dedicated to the Union Canal, which links the Forth and Clyde Canal at Falkirk with Edinburgh.

Loch Ness:

It’s Scotland’s deepest loch. It has its own brooding Highland charm. But without the fable-or-fiction mystique of the Loch Ness monster, this would be just another picturesque stop on the Scottish nature trail.

The legend of the Loch Ness Monster in the Scottish Highlands is often regarded as a myth, despite anecdotal sightings and reports of a giant sea-serpent or dragon inhabiting the waters of the Loch.

there are lots of information leaflets wildlife tours and attractions in the Loch Ness area, as it is principally a nature lovers paradise. 

Visit the Loch Ness Exhibition Centre at Drumnadrochit for a comprehensive look at the phenomenon.

Museum of Edinburgh:

It may not be the most spellbinding museum in town, but sentimentalists will love the Museum of Edinburgh, or Huntly House, just because it houses the collar and bowl of Greyfriars Bobby, that terrier symbol of devotion famous for sitting steadfastly on his master’s grave

A series of restored 16th and 17th-century townhouses to trace the history of Edinburgh from its earliest days as a prehistoric settlement, to its Roman occupation and medieval crafts.

One of its most treasured artefacts is the National Covenant, a petition for religious freedom dating back to the 17th century; the museum also houses the original plans for the Georgian New Town, and the exhibitions run through to contemporary times.

Stirling Castle:

Stirling is one of Scotland’s most historic towns. Once upon a time it was Scotland’s capital and is still known as the gateway to the Highlands

Stirling Castle is a great symbol of Scottish independence and a source of enduring national pride.

The castle’s long, turbulent history is associated with great figures from Scotland’s past, such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots.

Stirling has excellent provision for arts and nightlife. In the centre of the Old Town is the Tolbooth, a popular theatre and arts centre serving the 85,000 strong community and designed by leading architect Richard Murphy.

Royal Mile:

The castle area has been a hillfort for over 2000 years.

The Royal Mile runs down the East shoulder of this once active volcano and this is what gives the Royal mile its distinguishable geographical location.

It was 325 million years ago during an ice age that the immense pressure of moving glaciers carved out its profile

 Royal Mile is the impressive thoroughfare which connects Edinburgh Castle at the top of the hill with thePalace of Holyrood house at the bottom. 

Loch Lomond:

Loch Lomond is the largest by surface area, and the second largest (after Loch Ness) by water volume in Great Britain.

It is 39 kilometres (24 mi) long and between 1.21 kilometres (0.75 mi) and 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) wide.

It has an average depth of about 37 metres (121 ft), and a maximum depth of about 190 metres (620 ft). Its surface area measures 71 km2 (27 sq mi), and it has a volume of 2.6 km3 (0.62 cu mi).

Edinburgh Castle:

The oldest building in all Edinburgh is to be found within the Castle precincts.

It is St. Margaret’s Chapel, a tiny Norman building which has been standing there intact for more than 900 years. 

The Royal apartments include a tiny room in which Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth to the boy who was to become King James VI of Scotland and James 1 of England upon the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603.

The ancient Honours of Scotland – the Crown, the Sceptre and the Sword of State – are on view in the Crown Room.

Author’s Seat:

Arthur’s Seat is a notable landmark, dominating the city. 

Known also as the Lion’s Head, Arthur’s Seat is the highest of a series of peaks which take the form of a crouched lion.


Economic, Physical, Social, political Influence of Edinburg:

Edinburgh – Festival City

In 1947 the first Edinburgh Festival was symbolic of a new era. To the International Festival has been added the Festival Fringe, Jazz, Book and Film festivals amongst others. At New Year, the Hogmanay celebrations are seen worldwide. The city centre has become an internationally recognised venue and backdrop for events.

Values of individual festivals to the city economy (including indirect benefits) were calculated as follows:

Edinburgh International Jazz and Blues Festival £2.9 M ;

Edinburgh Military Tattoo £23.3 M ;

Edinburgh International Film Festival £2.1 M ;

Edinburgh Festival Fringe £69.9 M ;

Edinburgh International Book Festival £3.4 M ;

Edinburgh International Festival £19.3 M ;

Edinburgh Mela £0.8 M ;

Festival Cavalcade £3.3 M ;

Edinburgh International Television Festival £0.5 M ;

Edinburgh International Games Festival £0.9 M ;

Edinburgh Storytelling Festival £0.214 M ;

Capital Christmas£11.5 M ;

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay £24.4 M ;

Edinburgh’s Easter Festival £3.3 M ;

Edinburgh International Science Festival £1.2 M ;

Ceilidh Culture£0.266 M ;

Children’s International Theatre Festival £0.29 M.

Total economic value to Edinburgh: £167.9 M. In total, the 17 events attracted an attendance of 3.2 million people.

A sample survey of International Festival audiences carried out in 2001 identified that 33% came from Edinburgh, 5% from the rest of the Lothian’s, 19%from the rest of Scotland, 25% from the rest of the U.K., and 18% from overseas. 67% of visitors said the Festival was their only reason for coming to Edinburgh, while a further 22% said it was every important reason. The EIF’s 2003 Annual Review reported that 26% of visitors came from the rest of the UK outside Scotland, and 14% from overseas.

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Often described as ‘the jewel in Scotland’s tourism crown’ the success of tourism activity inn Edinburgh forms of key part of the city’s economics policy. The sector employs 30,000 people ,with visitors contributing in the region of £1 billion to the economy per annum .The recent creation of the Edinburgh City Region Brand confirms however that this activity should not be viewed in isolation ,rather as a prime target within a broader context .This World Heritage city consistently retains its position as the Uk’s second most important destination and acts as a gateway for visitors to Scotland .

Edinburgh City Region is a world influencer in science, business, education and the arts and is Scotland’s judicial and administrative centre. Edinburgh was crowned the Best Small City of the Future and Top Location for Economic Potential 2010/11 in the Financial Times fDi magazine awards. The city region offers investors a highly educated and skilled workforce; access to UK, European and English- speaking markets; a stable political and supportive fiscal environment; a competitive economy with potential for growth and an unbeatable quality of life.

In world terms, Edinburgh ranks 20th ahead of Dubai, Amsterdam and Washington in the Global Financial Centres Index. The capital is also one of the world’s top fund management hubs and a major European centre for asset servicing. In banking and insurance, it is home to many international headquarters and global brands. More than half of the world’s top 20 financial organisations have substantial operations in Scotland, with a critical mass of activity in and around Edinburgh. Supporting this diverse industry is a world-class community of professional advisors and suppliers including lawyers, accountants, corporate financiers, brokers, human resources and IT specialists.

Edinburgh’s legacy for innovation derives from its rich knowledge economy.

Nearly half of the city region’s workforce is employed in knowledge-intensive jobs including computing, communications, scientific research and the creative industries.

This has helped forge Edinburgh’s reputation as an ‘Ideopolis’ – a sustainable knowledge-intensive city that drives growth in the wider city region and develops knowledge industries that will be economically successful and improve quality of life.

Research and development is a core knowledge-intensive industry and focus of activity across the city region.

More than half of total Scottish research activity is undertaken in Edinburgh and the Lothians. The city region is a top ten European location for science and technology. The University of Edinburgh is a world leader in many areas of scientific research including informatics, infectious diseases and stem cell research.

Founded in 1582, the University has attracted some of the world’s greatest minds to the city, including anaesthetic pioneer James Simpson and evolutionist Charles Darwin.

Task 4 :

Understand how the UK inbound and domestic tourism is affected by internal and

External factors :

External factors:

Health, safety and security within the UK,


Marketing campaigns,

Availability of products and services,

Quality of goods and services,

Economic recession in UK and/or tourist generating countries,

Exchange rates,

Travel restrictions,

Emergence of new markets,

Competition from other destinations, weather


Changes in visitor numbers,

Length of stay,

Volume and value of inbound and domestic tourism,

Frequency of visits,

generating countries and region


Task 2:Understand the culture ,social and physical features of tourist destination

Task 2.a :Analyse culture ,social and physical features and explaining their appeal to tourist

Task 2.b :Compare features of developing and leading tourist destinations

Task 3:Understand how the characteristics of destinations after their appeal to tourist

Task 3.a :Compare the appeal of current leading with that of currently developing tourist destination

Task 3.b :Evaluate how characteristics of a tourist destination affect its appeal

Task 4:Understand issues likely to affect the popularity of tourist destinations

Task 4.a :Analyse issues that affect the popularity of tourist destinations

Task 4.b :Discuss the potential for responsible tourism to enhance the host community at worldwide tourist destinations


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