At the heart of the region Edinburgh is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city, boasting hundreds of years of fascinating history and one of the world’s most recognisable skylines, while the region boasts picturesque town centre’s, some of the world’s finest golf courses, rolling hills and stunning coastlines with golden beaches. These assets help me to make the case when persuading airlines to come here, and it’s been working.
Attracting people from all over the world to Edinburgh and Scotland is one of the airports key aims. Over 15.5 million tourists visited Scotland last year – spending over £5 billion and we know from our passengers that many journeys in Scotland begin in Edinburgh. This reinforces just how vital tourism is to Scotland’s economy today and to Scotland’s future economic growth. We have attracted new routes to places like Doha, Chicago and Abu Dhabi and our long-haul passenger traffic has increased by almost 90%.
The City of Edinburgh acts as a gateway for international and domestic tourists to the wider region and to Scotland as a whole. Visitors to Edinburgh, 38% of which are from overseas, are vital to business and domestic tourism injecting over £1 billion each year into the region's economy. However, we cannot be complacent - when attracting new air routes and passengers we face significant competition from around the globe. It is essential that we have a successful city region economy to enable us to compete with key cities such as London, Copenhagen, and Munich.
Whilst the airport continues to enhance connectivity to the rest of the world, it is essential that connectivity is improved across the city region. Targeted investment would lead to a marked reduction in journey times, driving up productivity, and opening up job opportunities across the region.
The City Region Deal can only be achieved through collaborative working with key partners not only in UK, Scottish and local Government, but across the business and education sectors as well as tourism and trade agencies.
Over the last decade, we have proven ourselves to be one of the most popular places in the world for investment in education, life sciences, tourism and financial services. But we must make sure this success continues. Edinburgh Airport recognises the need for growth. A City Region Deal could enable Edinburgh and the South East of Scotland to become one of the most connected, creative and entrepreneurial regions in Europe. The case is compelling.
I am pleased to see partners and businesses from across the region sharing a vision, and working together to lobby Government for the powers we need to ensure that the region can continue to deliver sustainable economic growth and jobs. I am delighted to pledge to support this initiative and look forward to working with partners as we develop specific projects further.
Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive - Edinburgh International Airport