Pink taxis are set to appear on the streets of the Capital – in a bid to attract visitors to an upmarket London hotel.
The brightly-coloured cabs are being introduced to Edinburgh by the Langham Hotel as part of a drive to encourage more Scottish visitors.
A year-long advertising campaign coordinated by Transport Media will encourage people to take a photo of themselves with one of two eye-catching vehicles and upload them to social media sites for a chance to win a luxury weekend stay.
Langham spokesman Brian Gore said it was hoped the pink cabs – already a mainstay outside the luxury hotel in London’s Regent Street – would prove a big hit.
He said: “This campaign is aimed at getting people from Edinburgh to come down to London and enjoy a weekend break at the Langham.
“We hope the reaction to the pink taxis is going to be really positive. The hotel really comes to life at the weekend – it’s full of vibrant people who want to experience London and we think that will really appeal to the people of Edinburgh.”
Bosses at the hotel have described Edinburgh as a “key feeder” city within the UK and outlined plans to maximise awareness of their hotel.
And in addition to city residents, Langham’s taxi promotion will tap into the more than 1.3 million international visitors each year who visit Edinburgh as part of a UK trip.
The Langham opened in 1865 and immediately became the UK capital’s first purpose-built “Grand Hotel” – which reflects a particular opulence and architectural style – and the first “Grand Hotel” in Europe. Over the years it has played host to royalty, statesmen and artists and was once visited by one of Edinburgh’s most famous sons, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
In 1890, the Langham celebrated its silver jubilee and was immortalised in writing by Conan Doyle using it as the setting for several Sherlock Holmes stories, including A Scandal in Bohemia published in 1889. The historic hotel is also the birthplace of the traditional afternoon tea, born more than 140 years ago in its Palm Court.
Mr Gore said the invitation to London could not have come at a better time, with the Victorian hotel’s Artesian cocktail bar voted “World’s Best Bar’”by Drinks International.
He said: “At this time we have a really exciting story to tell and we want to share that with visitors. We want to extend an invitation to people living and working in Edinburgh, to families and couples looking for a weekend break.
“Hopefully people will see the taxis going about the city and it will create a lot more impact with them.”
In February, Edinburgh City Council transport chiefs announced they would consider dumping vetting procedures for adverts before they are allowed to appear on taxis.
The changes sparked fears that dozens of vehicles could be entirely re-coated in different colours, causing the number of traditional black cabs in the city to plummet.
But the move was welcomed by Jeremy Sweeney of Ubiquitous, the UK’s largest black cab advertising firm, who said they would create a “level playing field”.
The pink cabs will join the ranks of Irn-Bru taxis, which have been promoting the fizzy drink in Edinburgh for more than 15 years.
Miniatures of the orange and blue vehicles are now available as collectables. The Capital is also home to several “Saltire’”taxis, which have proved popular with passengers.