Posted : 3 March 2022


Dundee’s revamped Christmas offering was visited by over 267,500 people and generated £2.6m for the city’s economy, it was revealed today.

Christmas in Dundee 2021 featured the Winterfest event in Slessor Gardens, which included a festive market, skating rink and a big wheel, as well as a winter wonderland in City Square and new Christmas lights in the streets.

An evaluation of the Christmas activity has now been completed – and it revealed the event was hugely popular with visitors.

Plans are now being put in place to ensure Dundee city centre is once again the place to be, for locals and visitors alike, during the 2022 Christmas period.

Councillor Mark Flynn, convener of city development, said: “We promised we'd build a bigger and better celebration for Christmas 2021 and that’s what we’ve achieved.

“There was a real buzz about the town, with activities for young and old alike, and that’s now being borne out in the evaluation.

“The surveys that were done with hundreds of visitors showed that 90% rated the event as good or very good, while 88% had a more positive impression of Dundee due to the activities.

“The visitor numbers between City Square and Slessor Gardens are fantastic, and the direct economic impact of £2.6million shows that our ambitious plans for Christmas have really made their mark on the city.

“By whatever measure you look at – the enjoyment of those who attended or the economic impacts of the event – it’s been a huge success.”

A team of evaluators conducted site surveys to measure social and economic impact and to monitor the audience demographics and event experience.

The survey found that over two-thirds said attending had a very positive impact on their health and wellbeing. A further 68% said that the event helped with "quality time with my family.”

Economic impact findings included: just under three in 10 people who attended were visitors to the city; and 84 temporary jobs were created.

Councillor John Alexander, leader of the city council, said: “I want the kind of superb Christmas offering that Dundee had in 2021 to be a permanent fixture, and we are already planning for this year.

“That doesn’t mean it has to be exactly the same – we want to learn from 2021 so that we can build and improve.

“We also want to harness the positivity and get others on board, particularly businesses who might want to get involved and help us to offer something even bigger and better next year.”

Christmas In Dundee 2021 was funded by Dundee City Council, with support from Event Scotland.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s director of events, said: “We were delighted to support Christmas in Dundee 2021 through Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund, established by EventScotland in conjunction with funding from the Scottish Government.

“Scotland is the perfect stage for events and it is wonderful to see the positive impact the Christmas activity had on visitors and the community as a whole. It reinforces the important role events play both to our communities and the country as a whole.”

A spokesperson for M&N Events, organisers of Winterfest, said: “We are overjoyed at the positive impact WinterFest created for visitors and for the city of Dundee, and glad that our investment in the event was able to contribute to a more festive feel in the city.

“We are delighted that so many people were able to enjoy a Christmas event of this scale where they were able to have fun and feel safe. We are very excited to be able to bring a bigger and better WinterFest to Dundee for 2022 and are already working on ways we can deliver this.”

Posted : 21 May 2021

The Eden Project has signed a memorandum of understanding with the owners of its preferred site for Eden Project Dundee and released the first image of how it might look.

The agreement between Eden, National Grid and SGN will kick off a period in which the partners will explore the practicalities of converting the former Dundee Gasworks on East Dock Street into the Eden Project’s home in Scotland.

The site is set back from the Dundee waterfront on the bank of the River Tay. It has good public transport links, the potential for a new pedestrian connection to the city centre and is less than a mile away from V&A Dundee and the train station.

The existing tall brick walls on the site suggested to the Eden team the potential to create walled gardens, making for a striking contrast to the industrial heritage of the Gasworks. Eden envisages this as a powerful symbol of regeneration, echoing the project’s home in Cornwall which is located in a former clay quarry.

Building Eden Project Dundee in this location would also provide an eastern anchor for the Dundee Waterfront regeneration project.

Eden’s agreement with National Grid and SGN follows the completion of a six-month “pollination” process to establish feasibility for the creation of a new international-scale site.

The feasibility study was completed with the support of Eden’s partners, Dundee City Council, University of Dundee and The Northwood Charitable Trust, and was created under the unique challenge of the national lockdown and travel restrictions. The study defined the themes and approaches of Eden Project Dundee.

Eden Project Dundee will draw on the history of the city’s Nine Incorporated Trades and is themed around nine new “Guilds” – of Healers, Growers, Navigators, Myth-Makers, Noticers, Alchemists, Celebrators, Menders and “Re-Sourcerors”.

It is characterised not by specialisms, like the existing nine trades, but by providing alternative ways of perceiving the world.

Each Guild will have its Guild Hall on the main Eden Project Dundee site with opportunities for “embassies” elsewhere in the city.

These Guild Halls will form the central experience spaces for Eden Project Dundee visitors and will include areas such as the Lookout, which celebrates connections between people and the natural world, the Lush Bunker, a high-tech zone showcasing new ways to grow plants and featuring hyper-real journeys into the air, soil and water, and the Seam, a collection of emotional, story-driven experiences related to mining and its alternatives.

Eden predicts that the project will create 200 jobs (with an additional 300 indirectly created) and contribute £27m per year to the regional economy.

David Harland, Eden Project International Chief Executive, said: “This is a really exciting moment for the Eden Project and the City of Dundee. The former Dundee Gasworks site is by far the best location for our Scottish home and we’re delighted to have a formal agreement in place to start working on a detailed plan.

“The feasibility study was like nothing we’ve ever worked on before, coming as it did during lockdown. Against all the odds, the hard work and dedication of our partners in Dundee shone through - even when we could only talk to them through a computer screen, their passion for the project, their city and country was palpable.  Alongside the generous engagement of local businesses and community groups, this has come together, such that we now have a project with genuine air under its wings.”

Councillor John Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council, said: “Completing the feasibility study and identifying the preferred site are another two important milestones on our journey to bringing Eden to Dundee.

“It truly is an incredible project, which will wow city residents and visitors alike. What Eden has envisaged is the transformation of an industrial site into a world-class attraction with a focus on the environment and sustainability.

“Eden Project Dundee is another opportunity to put Dundee on the map and show how well our city works with internationally-renowned partners.

“This project will deliver on so much of what we all want for the city – from creating hundreds of jobs and bringing millions annually into the local economy to delivering opportunities for education and connecting our diverse communities.

“It will be another jewel in the crown of our stunning, transformed Waterfront area. And the concept of the entire city being part of the project is unique and incredibly exciting.”

Professor Iain Gillespie, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Dundee, said: “This is very exciting news for the city. The University helped start the conversations between the city and the Eden Project, in a similar way to how we sparked the discussions to bring the V&A to Dundee, so I am delighted to see the project building on those connections and moving forward.

“We have recently established a Climate Leadership Group for the city, which I am chairing. The Eden Project will help us stimulate action and showcase excellence in regard to our own environmental and climate ambitions, for the city and for the University.”

Eden Project Dundee is one of a sisterhood of UK projects Eden Project International is developing, with plans well advanced for Morecambe (Eden Project North), and others proposed in Derry~Londonderry and Portland. Eden’s global portfolio of projects includes developments in China, Australia, New Zealand and Costa Rica.

Like every Eden Project around the world, Eden Project Dundee will be transformational and regenerative with an overarching theme of humanity’s connection to the natural world.

The original Eden Project, located near St Austell in Cornwall, opened in March 2001 and boasts the world-famous geodesic Biomes, one of which houses the world’s biggest undercover rainforest. Eden has welcomed more than 22 million visitors since opening and has generated more than £2bn for the regional economy.

Posted : 24 July 2020

An ambitious plan to boost Dundee’s growing tourism sector has been unveiled.

Leading tourism experts in the city, through the Tourism Leadership Group, will oversee the Dundee Tourism Recovery Plan- Covid 19 to ensure the city is ready to progress and strengthen its tourism offer as quickly as possible as Coronavirus restrictions begin to lift.

In 2019 alone Dundee’s economy received a record breaking £214 million tourism boost and received accolades including being named among the coolest places in the world to visit this year by National Geographic Traveller UK, and featuring in Condé Nast Traveller UK’s 10 Best UK City Breaks for 2019.

This plan sets out key objectives to ensure the city maximises its reputation as a must-see destination despite the challenges posed by Covid-19. 

The key priorities of this ambitious plan will see the creation of a city narrative to tell the authentic story of Dundee, considering the changing markets for tourism and new priorities for prospective visitors.

In addition, the plan seeks to anticipate and respond to seasonal demand, grow visitor numbers, and ensure environmental sustainability remains a key focus of the city’s tourism activity.

With restrictions easing, A ‘Dundee Welcomes You’ guide has been pulled together in order to help visitors enjoy their visit. The webpage details what is open including hotels, attractions and retail.

This recovery plan builds on the Dundee Tourism Strategy 2020- 2025, the publication of which has been postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Going forward, the overarching aim of this plan is to return the city to a position where it is ready to adopt and implement the full tourism strategy.

Chair of the Dundee Partnership, Councillor John Alexander said: “Prior to the coronavirus outbreak Dundee’s tourism sector was booming and I hope as restrictions ease more and more people will once again come and visit Scotland’s sunniest city
“We exceeded our 2020 target for economic impact, overnight stays and day visits in 2019 to the city, this plan will build upon the innovative and creative record Dundee has and will work to attract more visitors and increase the spend in the city.

“We all have the responsibility to enjoy the city safely and I’m delighted this group will work closely with the sector to provide advice on safety measures, new initiatives and promote funding streams that are available to this sector.”
Deirdre Robertson, Chief Executive of the Dundee Heritage Trust, has been appointed the Chair of the Tourism Leadership Group and Tara Wainwright, Acting Director of Audiences & Media at V&A Dundee, and Jessica Reid, Deputy Director and Head of External Relations at Dundee Contemporary Arts, have been appointed Vice Chairs of the group.

Deirdre Robertson, newly appointed Chair of the Tourism Leadership Group, said: "It has been really encouraging in the first few days since restrictions have been eased to see how many visitors are coming from out with the city to visit Dundee's heritage and cultural venues and how responsible and respectful they are being.

“It is clear Dundee is increasingly being recognised within Scotland and beyond, not just for its much-loved visitor attractions and the range and quality of its restaurants and accommodation options, but also as a fantastic tourist base.

“There are very few cities with such richness on its doorstep, where visitors can base themselves and so easily reach an incredible variety of things to do - stunning castles and stately homes, historic abbeys, spectacular waterfalls, watersports, mountains, beautiful beaches, gorgeous river walks and picturesque, authentic unspoilt villages - all within easy travelling distance of our fabulous wee city.

“Dundonians know we are blessed to live here and increasingly others are wakening up to how amazing it is too."

This plan is designed to work in partnership with Dundee’s Cultural Recovery and Resilience Plan and with the city’s economic recovery plan.

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