Edinburgh: The Definition of Placemaking

Edinburgh is a fantastic city, steeped in history and culture with a mass of development underway. The capital already boasts a brilliant reputation, enjoying a high volume of tourism and it is fantastic to see businesses working together to improve the city further, shaping it into a destination which maximises all venues in the area, delivering greater opportunities to residents, professionals and tourists alike.

Edinburgh St James is a £1 billion regeneration project currently being developed. Once completed, it will be a world-renowned, retail-led mixed-use development for people to visit, live, shop and experience. The developers plan for the asset to become a ‘must-visit’ destination which reinforces Edinburgh’s position as Scotland’s cosmopolitan lifestyle capital.

Waverly mall is currently undergoing significant redevelopment. The scheme already boasts a fantastic location sitting directly opposite and connected to the train station – a busy gateway into the centre, delivering a responsibility to represent and showcase the best of the city as new visitors arrive. The refurbishment will totally change the face of the current mall and has gained masses of support from the local council, communities and BIDs. The development will include a new roof terrace to dine and drink, doubling the width of the pavement to eliminate overcrowding, and numerous new retail, F&B and leisure units among many other benefits.

Edinburgh Council is currently leading a bid to set levies on tourist accommodation, planning to introduce a £2 tourist tax. More than 2,500 residents and businesses responded to the council consultation and only 9% were opposed to the visitor levy. City of Edinburgh Council leader, Adam McVey said: “Once again we are finding that there is a huge swell of support for a tourist tax in Edinburgh with residents and all types of business backing a scheme that is fair, sustainable and one which would be reinvested into the ongoing success of our tourism and hospitality industry and the services which matter most to local people.”

Aside from retail and tourism, Edinburgh is a buzzing business hub. According to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), Edinburgh is the second most popular conference destination in the UK, topped only by London. Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) brings a considerable amount of international business and footfall. Since opening in 1995, the EICC has welcomed 1.3 million delegates from more than 120 countries, generating £600m of economic impact for the city region. It is also of note that 66% of EICC’s clients are repeat customers.

New and refurbished conference centres continue to drive commercial business to the city including the iconic Grade A listed building, McEwan Hall – the venue reopened in 2017 following a 3-year multi-million-pound refurbishment. Attracting business professionals to the city through conferences and offices is a fantastic way to generate visitor spending from an international perspective throughout the entire year.

It is great to see the amount of investment, support and development going into the already highly attractive city. Edinburgh boasts plenty of historical destinations for sight sighting such as Edinburgh Castle and the National Museum of Scotland and the current developments, refurbishments and campaigns, are truly reigniting and further advancing Edinburgh’s vibrant and cultural profile.

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