Edinburgh attracts over 4 million visitors per year and enjoys a reputation for being one of the finest history and culture destinations in Europe.
But 2020 has been a challenge for Edinburgh - the visitor season was decimated by the covid-19 pandemic, and with the cancellation of the city's major festivals for the first time since 1947 the streets were strangely silent at what should have been the busiest, buzziest time of year.
As we look ahead to summer 2021, there remains a lot of uncertainty for Edinburgh, as with the rest of the world. We don't yet know what restrictions will be in place as the visitor industry struggles to get back on its feet, and the many casualties of summer 2020 - businesses who had to close or fundamentally change the services they offer - mean the future isn't so rosy for many whose lives and livelihoods depends on Edinburgh's visitors.
In this challenging and uncertain time, small businesses are more vulnerable than ever, and so it has never been more important to show support for the vast number of hospitality venues, restaurants, bars, shops and visitor services providers who lack the profile of some of the iconic attractions, accommodation providers and chain restaurants of the high street.
That's where visit-edinburgh.org comes in!
This site has been set up to provide a platform to small, independent and local businesses to reach a wider global market, and to showcase the fantastic range of products and visitors services that can only be found by looking beyond the 'top ten' lists and the multinational websites with million dollar marketing budgets.
Every product, service, venue and organisation featured in our listings belongs to a dedicated business owner living and working right here in Edinburgh. Our Partners pay an annual fee to have a listing on visit-edinburgh.org, and to feature in the blogs, social media and special offers pages of the website.
From tour guides to guesthouse owners, and from shops to bars and restaurants, each of the businesses featured operates without the resources of a chain brand or global franchise owner. Many businesses have been built from scratch by passionate locals who want to offer a level of service that bigger companies simply can't manage - a more personalised, bespoke, customised service that gives visitors to Edinburgh a friendlier, more authentic experience of the city.
This site brings these disparate businesses together under an umbrella intended to showcase these independent and locally-owned visions of Edinburgh's world-famous hospitality and tourism. And by connecting you directly to the providers themselves, we guarantee you'll get the best service, quality and price for your money - and you can know that your visitor dollar is going directly to support local people who in turn will be reinvesting in their community.
We don't take a cut or a commission from the sales these businesses make, and each business retains full control over its services and products.
So don't fritter your money away on mass-produced plastic souvenirs which have travelled further than you have to be sold in the shops on the Royal Mile - look for the handcrafted gifts in the smaller shops created by artisan producers who are inspired by Scotland.
Don't eat out at the branded chain diners that you'll find on every high street in the country - look for the independent restaurants which source local, seasonal produce and serve it with a smile.
Why pay for the familiar corporate hospitality of a major hotel brand when you could experience the unique Scottish hospitality of a small hotelier who will greet you by name?
And seek out the local Edinburgh tour guides who know the city like the back of their own hands, whose knowledge and passion for these streets can be heard in every story and anecdote.
We believe that a visit to Edinburgh doesn't mean the same thing to everyone who comes here. Don't settle for a copy-and-paste Edinburgh experience - take the time to create a trip that draws on local knowledge and expertise, to give you an experience of Edinburgh that is as unique as the city itself.
That's a visit to Edinburgh that you'll remember long after you return home. And for us, it's what we do every day!