Leader comment: Branson’s hotel plan a vote of confidence in Edinburgh

Sir Richard Branson celebrates the opening of the Virgin Hotel in Chicago (Picture: Getty)
Sir Richard Branson celebrates the opening of the Virgin Hotel in Chicago (Picture: Getty)
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It’s a “huge coup for Edinburgh”, as one city councillor rightly said, in these uncertain economic times.

Sir Richard Branson’s decision to build the first Virgin Hotel outside the US in the historic India Buildings just off the Royal Mile is expected to create about 200 full-time jobs and provide an annual £5 million boost to the economy.

But, more than that, the hotel is an expression of confidence that despite Brexit, Edinburgh will remain a popular, thriving city.

And where one of Britain’s most successful business tycoons goes, others are sure to follow.

His considerable communication skills will undoubtedly be used to help sell the hotel, selling Edinburgh in the process.

Judging by the success of the Virgin Hotel in Chicago – voted the best in the US by Conde Nast readers – it may not be too difficult a task.

It is also interesting personal connections played a part. Sir Richard’s grandparents were from Edinburgh, which he described as “such an iconic city”, while Virgin Hotels’ CEO Raul Leal said it was an “amazing place” after celebrating an anniversary there.

People who know the ‘Athens of the North’ realise how special it is.

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