DEMAND for overnight accommodation in the Capital has soared to a record high – sparking calls for the construction of more luxury hotels.
There there were 3.8 million domestic and international overnight visits to Edinburgh in 2014 – up from 3.4m the year before.
On the hotel issue, it’s been the case for some time that we have required more luxury and five-star hotel stock.Graham Birse
Experts have welcomed the trend, which they said was the result of strong growth in airport passenger numbers and route expansion, effective marketing and the “spillover” effect of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Tune Hotels, Hotel Ibis, Motel One and Mercure are among firms which have opened premises in Edinburgh since the start of 2013, boosting the Capital’s stock of just over 20,700 bedrooms by around 1100.
However, it is understood council chiefs believe Edinburgh will need a bigger pipeline of luxury hotels as visitors continue to flock to the city.
Business leaders also said there was a pressing need for more top-end premises.
This was despite a survey of nearly 5000 city residents, carried out by respected consultant Scott Porter Research & Marketing, which found that more than 90 per cent backed the scheme.
However, more than 2000 objections were also lodged with the city council amid fears the design could jeopardise the Capital’s Unesco World Heritage Site status.
Graham Birse, director of the Edinburgh Institute, said: “If you can bring an Intercontinental or a Rosewood to Edinburgh, it may well be there’s only one other such property of its kind in the UK – and that makes a statement about the city that’s worth making, as well as deriving significant additional economic benefit.
“On the hotel issue, it’s been the case for some time that we have required more luxury and five-star hotel stock. It’s not that the existing stock is inadequate – it’s very good.
“But if you want to attract the higher-value conventions, especially to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and other conference sites then you need to be able to provide the suites and five-star facilities commensurate with those high-end conventions.”
City bosses have welcomed fresh evidence of the Capital’s growing popularity among domestic and international visitors, particularly those looking for a short break. Councillor Frank Ross, economy leader, said: “Hotel developers continue to show a lot of interest in Edinburgh and there are many developments under way but we must not be complacent.
“To continue attracting a wide variety of visitors, we need to think about the type of accommodation on offer in the city. The industry should aim to cater to all demands and types of visitors, which means offering budget options all the way through to five-star luxury accommodation.”