China concern

Tourism chiefs on alert over impact of virus on Edinburgh

Alice He: expects a decrease in tourists (pic: Terry Murden)

Tourism chief Donald Emslie said there was “understandable concern” over the impact of the coronavirus on Edinburgh and beyond, but said there was no cause for alarm.

Mr Emslie, new chairman of the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG), said it was likely that a prolonged outbreak of the virus would see a dip in visitors from China.

But it was important to maintain a dialogue with all parties and offer reassurances.

Edinburgh saw a 46% surge in visitors from China last year to 200,000 on the back of the China Ready Initiative.

“So far it [coronavirus] is not a problem, but clearly it is on our agenda,” said Mr Emslie, speaking ahead of the launch of ETAG’s 2030 strategy.

Donald Emslie: ‘it is on our agenda’ (pic: Terry Murden)

“All we can do is continue to talk to the Chinese community. The most important thing is that the disease has not reached Scotland.”

Mr Emslie’s comments came ahead of the new coronavirus being declared a global emergency by the World Health Organisation.

A number of visitors to Edinburgh were tested last week but were given the all-clear.

Alice He, social media manager for ETAG and the China Ready Initiative, said the group was issuing a statement, expressing Edinburgh’s solidarity with the Chinese, millions of whom are trapped in their home cities, unable to travel.

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