Leader: ‘The city is starting to reap rewards’

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THE return “home” of the Scottish tourism industry’s biggest showcase event after an absence of five years is a timely boost for the Capital.

You might think that Edinburgh would be the natural choice for an event designed to sell Scotland to hundreds of foreign travel agents and tour firms.

the return “home” of the Scottish tourism industry’s biggest showcase event after an absence of five years is a timely boost for the Capital.

You might think that Edinburgh would be the natural choice for an event designed to sell Scotland to hundreds of foreign travel agents and tour firms.

But, despite the city offering the perfect backdrop, that has not been the case for some years.

Just like Rihanna and her fellow pop superstars, major corporate events often bypass Edinburgh in favour of cities with bigger and better facilities, such as Glasgow’s SECC.

Staging the VisitScotland Expo at Ingliston’s Royal Highland Centre next May for the first time since 2007 is a boost for the city’s tourist trade.

But it is also well-earned recognition for ongoing efforts to sell the city as one of the world’s leading conference venues.

The World Potato Congress, for instance, which takes place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) next May, may not sound glamourous or important, but it is part of a business tourism trade worth more than £300 million a year to the local economy.

The £87m extension of the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, due to open in spring 2013, will help further.

The city is starting to reap the rewards of its investment in this important side of the industry.

Sadly, its failure to do so adequately in years gone by means it has missed out on so much in the meantime.

Home comforts

THERE will be suspicions that in the turreted and elevated magnificence of Governor’s House, Alex Salmond has identified an official home worthy of himself.

But, all joking aside, the plan to swap the First Ministerial residence from Bute House makes sense.

Number 6 Charlotte Square has been the official base of the nation’s leader for just a little over a decade, and in truth many of the residents have found it lacking in home comforts. It is also owned not by the government but by the National Trust for Scotland.

Officials say transforming Governor’s House into a new permanent official residence will be cheaper than updating Bute House. It will also keep the First Minister in the complex of buildings around St Andrew’s House and bring him nearer to the Scottish Parliament.

The big question is, will Mr Salmond still want his official car to take him from his new home to the former, never mind the latter?