Your city needs you! Time to draw up an Edinburgh bucket list – John McLellan

A trip to the Royal Botanic Garden could be on the cards for John McLellan (Picture: John Devlin)A trip to the Royal Botanic Garden could be on the cards for John McLellan (Picture: John Devlin)
A trip to the Royal Botanic Garden could be on the cards for John McLellan (Picture: John Devlin)
Edinburgh’s reliance on tourism, hospitality and higher education means the coronavirus outbreak is hitting the city’s economy hard, writes John McLellan

With the very real possibility that 18,000 tourism-related jobs could be lost in Edinburgh this year as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown, despite yesterday’s Scottish Government announcement that tourism businesses might re-open from July 15, it’s not so much a question of if disaster can be avoided but how bad it’s going to be.

Because of Edinburgh’s reliance of tourism, hospitality and higher education, new figures from accounting giant KPMG predict Edinburgh’s recovery next year will be the slowest of all Scottish local authorities.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A recovery plan produced by the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group starts with a campaign to persuade residents to rediscover, or indeed discover, their own city, and while most people will have visited the main attractions at some point, it’s probable that many won’t have been since their school days or if they have it will have been with children and grand-children.

Read More
Scottish tourism re-start on 15 July signalled

Most of us can compile an Edinburgh bucket-list of days out – maybe I’ll get to Jupiter Artland this summer, and apart from a funeral reception it must be over 20 years since I went into the Botanic Garden – as long as we’re allowed to sit down and have a drink and a bite to eat.

It’s not going to compensate for losses predicted to be as high as £1bn, but the recovery has to start somewhere and with limited easing of lockdown it has to start as soon as possible.

The campaign will cost £150,000 to run, with money sought from both public and private organisations, and compared to the scale of the collapse is small beer indeed.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

When it comes before councillors today there will need to be very good reason for it not to receive full support.

Queen Margaret’s crown jewels are staying put, for now

After my musings a few weeks ago on the future of higher education in Edinburgh, Queen Margaret University has been in touch to say they have no plans to merge their nursing and physiotherapy departments with Edinburgh University’s medical school.

I’m happy, as always, to set the record straight but it does not mean that such combinations are not being mentioned, as indeed this idea was, even if the institutions themselves are not aware. For years these departments have been the jewels in Queen Margaret’s crown and their transfer would unquestionably be a massive blow, but with a £500m funding gap, Scottish universities face many unpalatable choices.

The row with China over Hong Kong means the army of wealthy Chinese post-graduates is unlikely to return quickly to fill university coffers, and even if full lockdown ended tomorrow the cash crisis won’t.

A sign of the times?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

New car sales in the first month of lockdown plunged by over 90 per cent, and a sign of things to come is the interest now being shown by one of the Seafield car dealers in giving over its showroom site to house-building.

The whole Seafied industrial estate has been earmarked for housing in the new city plan now under discussion and as other dealers consider consolidation some momentum might develop. The issues of infrastructure and amenities and who pays for them, which are such a headache in West Edinburgh, will be no less problematic here.

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you

Joy Yates

Editorial Director

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.