The Botanics named the most visited attraction in Scotland
The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh has been announced as Scotland’s busiest visitor attraction for 2020. Figures released from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA) show the Garden attracted 452,479 visitors during its 350th anniversary year, despite the impact of COVID-19.
Kari Coghill, Director of Enterprise and Communication said: “At the end of what has been a very difficult 12 months for everyone, we are grateful our Edinburgh Garden was able to stay open, providing a place of health and well-being for local people unable to travel far from their own doors. We do not take this lightly and fully appreciate the challenges of many partners in ALVA and beyond who have found it impossible to welcome visitors during the period of the pandemic.
“While all public buildings on the site have been closed, the Garden itself continued to provide a safe and welcoming environment. With all visits requiring a time slot ticket, booked online in advance of coming along, we have grown adept at welcoming visitors by utilising a variety of safety measures. Seeing how this could work, the natural progression for the festive season, was to open in the evening and offer Edinburgh families one of the few attainable evenings during the run of Christmas at the Botanics.
“As Britain starts to emerge from Covid-19, we look forward to everyone in the sector being able to resume something more akin to everyday operations. We have all learned important lessons in adapting to new ways of working.
“At the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, we are entering an exciting new phase of our own history, one which will bring new challenges and opportunities in the way we welcome our visitors. During lockdown, the Heritage Palm Houses and Modernist Front Range have been formally closed as early works have started on the seven-year multi-million-pound Edinburgh Biomes initiative to preserve our irreplaceable Living Plant Collections and the buildings in which they are housed for future generations.
“This, the most significant undertaking in our 351-year-history, has led to us developing new and creative ways to engage with visitors when the north east corner of the Garden effectively becomes a building site in the autumn. Although the Glasshouses are not accessible for now, we still plan to hold events and exhibitions. Education courses will continue to run and online public engagement will keep diversifying to maximise opportunities within the new confines of this redevelopment. All things considered, RBGE is in good order given these turbulent times for the sector, the economy and the lives of millions of people at home and abroad.”
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