By Graham Turner.
As it stands, Edinburgh is the second most desirable tourist location in the UK, second only to London. With a million people from over-seas countries coming to visit the capital every year. Naturally, this tourism has served as a staple of Edinburgh’s economy and ergonomic development. The festive season in the capital attracts a substantial portion of this tourism, most notably with the renowned Princes Street party held every year on Hogmanay. This one huge event accounts for a large portion of Edinburgh’s tourist-based income with the festivities accounting for upwards of around £40m towards the capitals local economy.
However this year, the Edinburgh council has been forced to downsize the street party as a result of the on-going tram works. Although these works have created a consistent stream of negative press as a result of convoluted scheduling and the ever expanding black-hole of a budget, there now may be long-term consequences as Edinburgh’s biggest tourist event downsizes in not only capacity, but surely quality as revelers look upon the once majestic princes street in it’s current iteration of dug-up walkways and abundance of red ‘No entry’ barriers.
Essentially, the ramifications of these changes will not only affect the short-term cash intake from the event itself, but may indeed tarnish the city’s reputation in regards to this event thus subsequently affecting future tourist interests. When contacting press representation for the street party, the issue seems to be a sort of broken record subject, when asked about the overall effect the works may essentially have on the traditionally open-plan feel of the event, response comes in stoic, mono-tone avoidance resulting in the promise of a forwarded email covering the basis of any issues as a result of the works.
The irony inherent considering the wide-spread affect this project has had is two-fold, firstly in the notion that in a time of such economic crisis, surely the city council should have been better prepared to ensure this event is bigger than ever to help nurture an economic recovery. Secondly, these developments simply add fuel to the fire in the debate that when the veil is finally lifted and these trams are in operation will they create the cosmopolitan, euro-chic feel that the local council appear to be striving for. Or, will the city’s reputation and tourist appeal be so badly affected by the on-going works that the city will never re-cooperate or indeed profit in relation to the money already spent.