Demand on rise for hotel beds in Edinburgh

Hotel bed occupancy in the Capital has risen four per cent between January and May this year. Picture: Contributed
Hotel bed occupancy in the Capital has risen four per cent between January and May this year. Picture: Contributed
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HOTELS in Edinburgh could be heading for a bumper summer after it emerged the number of rooms being booked out – and how much visitors have to pay – are on the rise across the city.

New figures show more than three-quarters of the Capital’s hotel rooms (78 per cent) were occupied from January to May this year, a rise of four per cent from the same period in 2016.

As a city we are working hard to cope with the rise in demand

John Donnelly

And visitors who stay in the rooms are forking out more cash, with the average daily rate also rising, going up nearly 13 per cent to £87.15 in the same period.

The figures come just days after heritage watchdogs warned Edinburgh could become overrun with tourists unless measures were put in place to limit the impact of the city’s booming tourism sector.

John Donnelly, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh, said a number of factors were leading to a rise in demand for the city, including the impact of currency devaluation since Brexit and Edinburgh’s ongoing attractiveness as a destination.

He said the weak pound, particularly against the dollar and the euro, had led to an influx of international visitors and that Edinburgh was also becoming increasingly popular with UK citizens opting for “staycations”.

He said: “As a city, we are working hard to cope with that rise in demand. There are 2000 more hotel rooms opening in the next 24 months.

“Tourism businesses and organisations are also collaborating together with the ongoing implementation of the Edinburgh 2020 Tourism Strategy, to ensure this growth is sustainable and more evenly spread throughout the year. All of this is amazing news for Edinburgh and Scotland’s economy and local business.”

Compiled by data analysts STR, the figures were drawn from 109 of the Capital’s 172 hotel properties, covering 11,283 of a total 13,162 rooms.

They showed an average occupancy in May of 89.4 per cent, up four per cent on the same month the previous year. The average daily rate jumped 21 per cent from £91.29 in May 2016 to £110.67 this year.

Gavin Barrie, the council’s housing and economy convener, said rising demand was good news for the Capital.

He said: “It is great to see the continued increase in the number of leisure and business travellers visiting Edinburgh. The Capital plays a vital role in the UK tourism economy.

“In addition to providing sufficient levels of visitor accommodation, it is also necessary that it is available at varying prices appropriate to a wide range of visitors. A number of four- and five-star hotels are already under development ... The city has recently also attracted an increased number of budget hotels.

“This momentum is certainly continuing as Edinburgh is already buzzing as we start to celebrate 70 years as a festival city.”