Edinburgh named one of the best places in the world to visit – thanks to its culture, festivals and heritage

The Scottish capital’s summer and winter festivals, museums and galleries, and the Old and New Towns have all been cited by Tripadvisor in its annual awards for the world’s best destinations.

Edinburgh was named ahead of Bangkok, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Mumbai, Jaipur, Abu Dhabi, Las Vegas and Athens as it was ranked the 12th best city in the world.

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It was named the ninth best overall destination in Europe, ahead of Florence, Madrid, Corfu, Venice, Prague, Budapest, Dublin and Krakow, and ranked 17th worldwide.

TripAdvisor’s Travel Choice Awards are based on the favorite destinations of travelers around the world linked to the quality and quantity of positive reviews and ratings on the online platform.

Other recent accolades for Edinburgh include being named the best city destination for a holiday by National Geographic and the second-best city in the UK, after London, by Conde Nast Traveller.

Edinburgh has been named the seventh best city in Europe by Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards, alongside London, Rome, Istanbul, Paris, Barcelona and Madrid.

Other destinations cited in the top 20 include Bali, Crete, Tenerife, Corsica, Istanbul, Singapore, Marrakech and Cancun, Mexico.

The Dugald Stewart Monument on Calton Hill, Edinburgh. Photo: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

The Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards website states: “Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland, renowned for its heritage, culture and festivals. Take a long walk through the center to explore the World Heritage sites of Old Town and New Town, as well as all the museums and galleries in the area.

“Then stop for a delicious meal of fresh Scottish produce before setting off to attend one of Edinburgh’s many events including the famous Summer Culture Festivals or Winter Music Festivals, of light and ceilidhs.”

Steven Paganelli, Director of Destinations at Tripadvisor, said: “As the world begins to travel again, priorities are changing and people want more memorable experiences when traveling.

“There’s a whole world to choose from, and we want to help guide travelers looking to make the best trips for them – regardless of the perfect vacation destination.”

The Edinburgh International Festival will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2022. Photo: Matt Beech

The results are a huge boost for efforts to revive Edinburgh city center after nearly two years of Covid restrictions and work-from-home guidance.

Edinburgh’s festivals will celebrate their 75th anniversary in 2022, while others to promote the city center are also expected to focus on the new St James Quarter and Johnnie Walker Visitor Center on Princes Street, as well as the upcoming opening of a Gleneagles hotel on St Place André.

Paula Ward, regional leadership director at national tourism agency VisitScotland, said: ‘It’s wonderful to see Edinburgh rank so high in the global and European awards for 2022.

“These awards are based on Tripadvisor user reviews and ratings and show that, despite the challenges faced by the industry during the pandemic, Edinburgh remains a much-loved destination.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society believe this year will see a “rebirth” of the event. Photo: Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images

“The last 12 months have seen major openings like Johnnie Walker Princes Street and the St James Quarter providing inspiration for visitors at a time when tourism needed it most.

“The results of the Travellers’ Choice Awards offer another encouraging sign for the city’s tourism sector for the year ahead.”

Edinburgh’s tourism industry was estimated to be worth more than £2billion to the economy and believed to have supported more than 34,000 jobs before the pandemic hit.

Roddy Smith, chief executive of city center business group Essential Edinburgh, said: “As we recover from the pandemic, bringing international visitors back to the city is essential for our hospitality, tourism and retail and all local suppliers of these businesses.

“These recently released rankings again show just how popular, well-regarded and important our beautiful city is for visitors looking for short breaks or longer stays.

“As a city, we need to work together to promote ourselves to all of these potential visitors, ensuring that Edinburgh continues to be a must for visitors from around the world. International travel will return and we need to support this return with even more positive urban messaging.

“With new attractions opening over the past two years, such as Johnnie Walker and the St James Quarter, the imminent opening of new high-quality restaurants and hotels, and the upcoming Van Gogh Alive immersive experience, the city continues to offer new opportunities to visitors.

“With our longstanding historic attractions and cultural offering, the future is bright and we look forward to welcoming visitors again.”

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said: “This is very good news indeed and a huge boost for the sector, at a time when we really hope that thoughts of travel to Scotland are in the spirit of our European neighbours. and those of the more distant coasts.

“Scotland clearly remains the top choice for travelers today and so it is more important than ever that we continue to ensure we are globally competitive, not just in terms of assets and experiences, but also in terms of cost and value for money.

“Our vision for tourism strategy remains, Scotland will be the tourism leader of the 21st century and after two unbearably difficult years of crisis for our tourism industry, it seems that our efforts and focus naturally fall back on delivering this approach which puts our communities, our people, our visitors, our businesses and our environment at the heart of everything we do.

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