Actions speak louder than Hogmanay words - Kevin Buckle
“Edinburgh may replace its Hogmanay fireworks with drone displays and drop its street party under a winter festivals revamp to reduce their environmental impact, curb drinking & overcrowding, and expand events across the city” declared Brian.
I was tagged in good company with ETAG, Essential Edinburgh, The Scottish Tourism Alliance and the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce among others.
Overall it got a very good response as it addresses many of the issues that have previously surfaced. However, my own feelings were these things were very easy to say but very difficult to put into action.
I do think Edinburgh Council overestimates the importance of putting on such a big show for Hogmany as much of what happens is also seen throughout the world very much in the way the Christmas market is far from unique.
The difference is Edinburgh has the advantage of being the home of Hogmanay and maybe less is more.
There was also the usual pledge to support local businesses and here things are far clearer. Local businesses don’t need the opportunity to pop up elsewhere for Christmas they want people to come to the premises they have already.
Local businesses that just pop up at the best times do so to the detriment of those that are trading all year round and very rarely ever fulfill a need that is not already covered.
The most important thing of all when trying to spread visitors across the city centre, never mind the city is that the only way you will achieve that is to gve them something they really want to go to.
You only had to see how badly attended the attractions were at the west end of Princes Street while there were queues on Waverley Bridge to realise how hard a job it is to get people to move around the city centre at all.
It was that reason some time ago I suggested a Harry Potter mural for the tunnel in King’s Stables Road as I was certain that would attract people with the added bonus of passing through the Grassmarket on their way or after leaving. Also in these days of Instagram and social media in general the mural would provide great images.
It was pointed out to me by Edinburgh World Heritage that it wasn’t a tunnel at all but a bridge but even they while saying they wouldn’t be seen supporting the idea admitted they would not object either.
Much as I think there is a lot that could be improved about the winter festivals what would not help is if Edinburgh produced something that was very worthy but not very good.
Getting the balance right will not be easy but I’m very much of the opinion that those making the decisions simply do not understand the footfall in Edinburgh and certainly don’t understand that you can’t tell people how to move across the city but instead need to give them reasons to wander a little further afield.
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