Edinburgh targets Commonwealth Games visitors
Edinburgh is to mount a major bid to capitalise on the staging of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. a major tourism conference in the capital was told.
City leaders have revealed plans to lure thousands of visitors to the capital before, during and after the sporting extravaganza.
It has emerged that talks are already ongoing with officials in Glasgow over how the two cities can work together over the games.
And it is hoped they can provide a major boost to events like the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which will be getting underway just as the sporting extravaganza finishes.
Sue Bruce, chief executive of Edinburgh City Council, said many visitors to the games would be unable to stay in Glasgow due to a shortage of accommodation that the capital would be able to help meet.
She said tourism bodies in the capital were also planning to join forces with a major campaign to promote the city’s attractions and events, as well as help meet demand for hotel beds. The two cities already help accommodate fans when major football and rugby fixtures are held.
And she said the staging of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow was a “huge opportunity” for the city, rather than a threat, despite a slump in hotel bookings and festival ticket sales in Edinburgh while the London Olympics were on last summer.
Ms Bruce said: “The Commonwealth Games are a major focus for discussion between the two cities at the moment.
“We will obviously be having the diving competitions in Edinburgh at the Royal Commonwealth Pool, but there will be opportunities coming up for the city and it is important we are ready for them.
“Not everyone will able to to stay in Glasgow and we need to take advantage of the good connectivity between the two cities, as well as promote the events and attractions we have here, and possibly get people to extend their stay after the games, when the festivals will be starting. We will be looking at doing some kind of campaign through Marketing Edinburgh.
“We very much see the Commonwealth Games as being good news for Edinburgh, rather being any kind of threat, and the two cities complementing each other. It’s a huge opportunity.”
The effect of the London Olympics was widely blamed for damaging tourism figures in Scotland over the summer - with numbers down 12 per cent between July and September - and hampering ticket sales in the first week of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Robin Worsnop, chair of the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group, said: “There are clearly lessons to be learned for the Olympics, although I don’t see the Commonwealth Games having the same kind of effect.
“The majority of people who will be attending events will be Scots and it’s unlikely to impact on the European and American markets into Scotland that we saw with the Olympics. A lot of tour operators simply changed their plans and went to other countries around Europe because of the Olympics.
“The big thing about the Commonwealth Games is that it is so close to Edinburgh and there are great transport links between the two cities. It’s quicker to get from Edinburgh to Glasgow than it is to go from east to west London.”
David Allfrey, chief executive of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, which will be starting its run next year just days before the Commonwealth Games ends, said: “We will have a special Commonwealth theme next year are looking to see if we can attract acts who will be appearing in some of the cultural events in Glasgow.”
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Sunday 26 May 2013
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