Monday, 16 June 2008

3000 more hotels to be built

Shame the priority is hotels but very few affordable homes are being built in Edinburgh, the homeless figures go up and more and more people are stuck in privately rented and mortgaged accomodation they can't afford. Where's the investment in homes. What about a headline "City to get 3000 more affordable social homes in just seven years". Come on get your priorities right.

City to get 3000 more hotel rooms in just seven years

Published Date: 16 June 2008


A MASSIVE hotel building programme in Edinburgh will create more than 3000 new bedrooms in the space of just a few years, it was revealed today.

A report produced as part of the Scotland-wide bid to increase tourism revenue by 50 per cent before 2015, shows the city is already well ahead of target.

In the last year, the city council's planning committee granted permission for 1542 new rooms – including a five-star hotel in the controversial Caltongate development, the Hotel Du Vin on Forrest Road and an Apex Hotel on Waterloo Place.

On top of that, new developments with a total of 1487 rooms are set to come before councillors this year, including a massive £200 million project at Haymarket, which features two hotels with 426 rooms.

A 2006 report identified a need for 4000 new hotel rooms in the city by 2015, meaning Edinburgh is three-quarters of the way towards that goal.

Although pressures on the global economy have resulted in a fall in advance bookings for June, July and August this year, Edinburgh's hotels traditionally run at an occupancy rate of more than 90 per cent during the Festival months.

Councillor Tom Buchanan, the city's economic development leader, said today: "The growing demand for hotel rooms is a sign that Edinburgh remains a highly-attractive destination.

"This is great news for the Capital's economy, with positive knock-on effects for jobs, shops and other businesses. The target of 4000 should be easily met within the recommended timeframe."

In 2007/08, 134 hotel rooms were completed, and construction began on another 775. On top of that, planning consent was granted for developments with 633 new rooms – a combined total of 38.6 per cent of the 2015 target.

Sinead Guerin, VisitScotland regional director, said today: "Investment in the tourism industry is crucial for improving the prospects for both leisure and business tourism. It is very encouraging that the local authority has recognised this."

Edinburgh has been set its own goal of increasing tourism revenues by 63 per cent by 2015.

Business tourism currently accounts for £300m of the £1.08 billion spent by visitors to the Capital every year.

The flagship hotels at Haymarket and Caltongate – if approved – will both be five-star.

To read the article in the Edinburgh Evening News click here