Overview of Edinburgh

Economy of Edinburgh

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The economy of Scotland is closely tied to the United Kingdom. It is also part of the European Economic Area. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the UK is over 2 trillion and Scotland makes up over 87 billion GBP.

Scotland has the third largest GDP per capita of any region in the United Kingdom (after the South East of England and Greater London). The country has an open mixed economy, similar to the rest of Europe and much of the western world. In the past, the Scottish economy has been dominated by heavy industry and became an industrial powerhouse of Europe during the Industrial Revolution. Shipbuilding, coal mining, and the steel industry have been stalwarts of the economy. The country has undergone a de-industrialization during the 1970s and 1980s, shifting the focus to petroleum extraction from the North Sea. However, issues receiving their fair share of the North Sea oil money has been an ongoing issue.

Other major industries include banking and financial services, construction, education, entertainment, biotechnology, transport equipment, and whisky. More recently, the service-oriented economy has brought greater wealth. Tourism is now the main industry for Scotland. There are over 200,000 jobs in the service sector with tourists bringing about 4 billion GBP per year.


Edinburgh has been named the Best Small City of the future and is the undisputed center of Scotland's economy. It excels in the field of health, business services, and retailing. The main focus is largely based on the services sectors of banking, financial services, higher education, and tourism.

Banking has been part of Edinburgh's economy for over 300 years. The Bank of Scotland (which is now part of the Lloyds Banking Group) was established by the original Parliament of Scotland in 1695. It is now the UK's second financial center after London, and Europe's fourth by equity assets. Worldwide, it ranks ahead of Dubai, Washington, D.C. and Amsterdam. The Royal Bank of Scotland opened its new global headquarters at Gogarburn and Tesco Bank and Virgin Money have also opened headquarters here.

Tourism is the other primary source of income. There is a national tourist agency, VisitScotland, that markets tourism in the country on the strength of its golf, fishing and food and drink tourism. Because of the far-wandering Scottish people, there is another niche of tourism - visitors coming to Scotland to explore their family and ancestral roots. Of course, there is also tourists who come to see the city's preserved sections under the World Heritage Site. Tourists come to see Edinburgh Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Georgian New Town. On top of these year-round tourism, the summer brings a healthy festival schedule with over 4.4 million visitors. This garners in excess of 100 million GBP for the Edinburgh economy annually.

Update 8/04/2011

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