Edinburgh is a major tourism centre in the UK and gateway to the rest of Scotland. Around 4 million visitors a year inject £1.32 billion into the local economy. Scotland's Inspiring Capital is the UK's favourite domestic holiday alternative to London and has a multiple award-winning reputation as one of the most attractive destinations in the world, with an ideal mix of shopping, culture, music, heritage and leisure facilities.
Today, tourists continue to enjoy Edinburgh's past and present landmarks. It is the world's most famous arts festival city, the world's first City of Literature (awarded by UNESCO in 2004) and home to the iconic Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Parliament and the Palace of Holyroodhouse – the official Scottish residence of the Queen. According to VisitScotland, eleven of the top twenty visited attractions in Scotland are located in the Edinburgh City Region. The area is also home to one of Scotland’s five UNESCO World Heritage Sites – a completely unique layout, the medieval Old Town and Georgian New Town of Edinburgh are recognised as a site of international importance.
Edinburgh is the world's festival capital, with 12 international festivals and a host of other major events throughout the year. They include the Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh International Science Festival, International Film Festival, International Book Festival, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Edinburgh's Christmas and Hogmanay and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world.
The National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh Zoo (home to the UK's only giant pandas - Yang Guang and Tian Tian), St Giles' Cathedral, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Scottish Parliament, Our Dynamic Earth and the Royal Botanic Garden are also favourites, alongside nearby attractions such as Stirling Castle, the Kelpies, Falkirk Wheel, Rosslyn Chapel and East Lothian's Museum of Flight as well as several popular attractions only an hour away in Glasgow.