Edinburgh prepares for Calcutta Cup economic boost

Traders in Edinburgh are predicting a boom weekend for the capital's hospitality industry as thousands of rugby fans descend on the city for Saturday's Six Nations clash between Scotland and England.

Picture: Ian Georgeson

Experts predicted revenues from the event may fall in comparison to previous years, but pubs have responded to the sellout crowd by tripling their alcohol orders, while hotels in the city centre have hiked prices.

In 2014 - the last time England and France were hosted at Murrayfield in the same campaign - the tournament was thought to be worth up to £52m to the Scottish economies.

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However, the Edinburgh Hotels Association (EHA) predicted the 2018 edition could see its value drop by as much as £7m in January.

But with around 67,000 fans are set to take in the action at the national stadium, local businesses are preparing to cash in.

Eric Drought, manager of The Three Sisters in the Cowgate revealed their beer hall had been fully booked out weeks in advance of the fixture and said the bar should hit its maximum 990 capacity at around 1pm tomorrow - three hours before kick off.

He added: “We’ve had 600 kegs of cider and ale delivered this week, those are usually the two favourites among the English fans and we expect them to be drunk dry.

“We’re preparing for this to be our biggest one-day event of the calendar year and with the Ireland vs Wales match on just before it, it should be a really good atmosphere between all the supporters.”

At the Roseburn Bar, just ten minutes from the stadium, manager Craig Ford said they were preparing to be packed throughout the day, adding: “The cellar is full at the moment, we’re talking two dozen extra kegs of Tennents, a dozen extra kegs of Guinness - we are expecting to be full all day.”

“This is different from when Hearts played at Tynecastle a few months ago, it tends to be a much more international crowd and it will be an all-day event, people come out and make a day of it.”

In January, The Principal hotel chain was charging rugby fans between £642 and £707 for a room in its respective hotels on George Street and Charlotte Square on Saturday night.

Russell Imrie, spokesman for the Edinburgh Hotels Association, said the match would be a big pull for travelling fans, adding it could be one of the biggest weekends for hotels across the city.

He said: “The attraction with a fixture of this size in Edinburgh is that a lot of domestic rugby fans coming up from England don’t have to fly. It’s not like going to France or Italy, so obviously that cuts down on a bit of expenditure, meaning they have more to spend on enjoying themselves while they are here.”

He added: “It is difficult to compare this weekend with Edinburgh’s two principal tourism periods, in August during the Edinburgh Festival and over the three or four days of Hogmanay, but as a one-off weekend, it will certainly be up there with the busiest times.”

Councillor Gavin Barrie, housing and economy Convener, said: “The Six Nations brings a tremendous economic boost to the city at a time outwith the busy winter and summer festival months. There’s always a great buzz on match days.”