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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 December, 2003, 14:45 GMT
Tourism agency 'stays in capital'
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Ministers considered other options for VisitScotland's base
Scotland's tourism agency is to relocate from its present HQ in Edinburgh to elsewhere in the capital.

Tourism Minister Frank McAveety said on Thursday that VisitScotland will move buildings when the current lease is up, but will remain in Edinburgh.

After considering 10 options for VisitScotland's base, ministers concluded that the time was not right to relocate outside the capital.

Mr McAveety said any other decision would have caused too much disruption.

He said: "We had to minimise the disruption given the major restructuring which has taken place at VisitScotland over the past two years, and the need to maintain the tourism sector's momentum of recovery from the difficulties of 2001.

VisitScotland has achieved a great deal during the last two years
Frank McAveety
"However, some parts of the organisation currently based in Edinburgh will, in due course, be identified for relocation following the forthcoming report of the ministerial working group."

The lease on VisitScotland's present headquarters in Edinburgh, which is home to 115 staff, expires in March 2005.

Mr McAveety added: "VisitScotland will also work within the Job Academy arrangements being developed by Edinburgh City and Scottish Enterprise for getting people who are economically inactive back into the labour market.

"It has achieved a great deal during the last two years, and I look forward to its building on the successes achieved in that period."

The Public and Commercial Services union welcomed the decision, but said it would continue to fight executive plans to relocate Scottish Natural Heritage's (SNH) headquarters to Inverness.

Sarah Boyack, the Labour MSP for Edinburgh Central, said the decision to remain in the capital was correct.

She said: " I welcome this decision and display of common sense by the Scottish Executive, though I'm disappointed that the same common sense and logic was not displayed with the SNH decision.

"The last thing I wanted to see was another SNH fiasco. This is good news for the staff of VisitScotland, but it is also good news for the tourism industry."

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