Support for tourism businesses

Economic Development has a small tourism team who work across the public and private sectors to develop the tourism industry in East Lothian.  We can provide support or signpost to suitable sources of support for tourism events and initiatives that attract additional visitors to the county.  Please email if your business requires any help.

Tourism funding

There are many funding opportunities for individuals, groups or organisations to assist in developing events in Scotland.

EventScotland deliver a series of funding programmes.  Programmes include: International Events, National Events, Beacon Events, Scottish Clans & Historical Figures Events, Scotland's Winter Festivals and Themed Years.

Creative Scotland offers funding to individuals, groups or organisations to support a wide range of activity in the arts, screen and creative industries.

Visit East Lothian website and digital channels

If your business is an accommodation provider, visitor attraction, food & drink establishment, or activity, tour or experience operator in East Lothian, you may qualify for a free listing on our Visit East Lothian website. Scroll to the bottom of the website homepage to the 'Business Directory' section.

  • Your business is already listed - Click on 'Register Your Business'.  Once you have registered, log back in by clicking on 'Business Login' and search for your listing then claim your listing.
  • Your business is not listed - Click on 'Register Your Business' and follow the process.

You can keep up to date with what's on offer in East Lothian by following our social media channels FacebookTwitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

Tourism Signposting

To be considered for brown tourist signs in East Lothian, your business must be approved as a participant in VisitScotland's Quality Assurance Scheme. Please note that VisitScotland is only responsible for approving eligibility to apply for signage and is not responsible for approving signage. The final agreement to sign your establishment is at the discretion of East Lothian Council and Transport Scotland. You can view a copy of VisitScotland's Tourist Signposting online leaflet explaining the current regulations.

Once you have received approval of your participation in VisitScotland's Quality Assurance Scheme, you can then make an application to East Lothian Council for possible approval, locations, number of signs, costs, etc. Applications will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Any signs that may be required on motorways or trunk roads would be subject to approval by the Roads Authority within the Scottish Government. It should be noted that in order to be eligible for signing from a motorway, visitor attractions should normally receive a minimum of 50,000 visitors per annum. Retail-based establishments are not normally eligible for tourist signposting from motorways unless they are VisitScotland accredited as a Tourist Shop.

Tourism Economy

Tourism is big business for Scotland, bringing in £4.5 billion annually through overnight stays and in excess of £6.2 billion via day visitors.  More than 200,000 jobs are supported through tourism across 20,000 tourism-related businesses (Tourism Scotland 2020).  Based on STEAM 2017 data, visitors to East Lothian contribute c.£257m to the local economy and tourism jobs now account for over 4,300 jobs in the area.  Visitors are attracted to the county for the quality of our environment and the range of cultural and sporting activities.

East Lothian Visitor Survey

In order to further develop East Lothian as a visitor destination and support the visitor economy, East Lothian Council conducted a comprehensive research on visitors in 2021 in order to build and update their understanding of the visitor profile, visitor perceptions, activities and expenditure, as well as to gauge satisfaction with the tourism offering.

Download East Lothian Visitor Survey 2021