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Privatisation next step as Edinburgh Marketing wins reprieve

Edinburgh Marketing, the organisation behind the city’s convention bureau, was dealt an eleventh hour reprieve – of sorts – after city councillors accepted a counter offer to proposed cuts.

The council had sought to cut the marketing body’s funding by £567,000 next year and by a total of 89 per cent over two years. The chief executive, John Donnelly, said the move would force the closure of the organisation, leaving Edinburgh as the only major city without a promotional body.

However the council has now agreed to reinstate £0.267m to their annual funding for next year, bringing the 2019/20 budget to £590,000 – down from £890,000 – subject to the development of a business plan outlining how the body will operate on zero council funding. It is likely that the convention bureau, Convention Edinburgh, which helps bring international meetings to the city, will be privatised.

Gordon Robertson, chair, Marketing Edinburgh, said: “In recent weeks, Marketing Edinburgh has worked hard to develop and submit what we believe is a viable counter proposal to City of Edinburgh Council’s proposed budget cuts. We will now move forward to focus on the next step in the evolution of Marketing Edinburgh to become a destination marketing management organisation.

“That said, £300K is a significant cut and will need to be managed carefully. Our focus now will be to co-produce an appropriate business model which continues to deliver our services to the City of Edinburgh and our members within the revised budget. Private sector funding and collaboration with our members are an essential component.

“Marketing Edinburgh exists to promote what’s in the best interest for Edinburgh and our members, and we shall continue our efforts to sustain Edinburgh’s reputation as one of the best places in the world to live, work, invest, study and visit.

“On behalf of the Marketing Edinburgh Board and our members, I want to extend our thanks to all our partners and peers from across tourism, hospitality, marketing and film industries, as well as the city’s academic and business leaders, for their support in recognising the critical role we have played in the city’s success to date. It is greatly appreciated.”