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Old September 28th, 2013, 01:08 PM   #1
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Edinburgh Tourism & Visitor Attractions | News & Developments

Leith Docks bid for HMS Edinburgh scuttled

Edinburgh Evening News - 28th September, 2013



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Hopes of mooring HMS Edinburgh at Leith Docks have been sunk following concerns the bulky destroyer would hinder operations at the port.

Western Harbour in Granton has now been earmarked as a potential berthing site as council chiefs pull out all the stops to exhibit the warship in its city namesake.

However, it is understood HMS Edinburgh could be lost to the city as it will go under the hammer at an international auction, with bids expected to flood in from around the world.

Ministry of Defence sources have hinted that “financial realities” may dictate the decommissioned vessel is berthed at a rival destination to Edinburgh as Royal Navy bosses move to land the best deal for the taxpayer. In 2008, flagship ocean liner the QE2 was retired from service and sold to the private equity arm of Dubai World.

Their plan was to convert the vessel to a 500-room floating hotel.

It is thought there may be interest from similar *foreign investment firms in the £700,000 ship which could scupper the Capital’s plans.

Culture bosses originally hoped to site HMS Edinburgh close to the Royal Yacht *Britannia but are now *understood to be content with using the Western Harbour option.

Lord Provost Donald *Wilson, who has helped drive the *campaign to deliver HMS Edinburgh alongside Lothian MSP Margo MacDonald, remains committed to *achieving the goal. He said: “I remain absolutely determined to secure a future for the ‘Fortress of the Sea’ on these shores.

“The opportunity to bring the warship back to her spiritual home remains on the table and the working group, which I chair, is continuing to explore all options to take this forward.”

A feasibility report poured cold water on Leith Docks as a berthing site, claiming it would “adversely impact on port operations”. But transforming the ship into a “floating museum” could prove lucrative, as shown by HMS Belfast, based near London Bridge, which attracts a quarter of a million paying visitors a year.

Councillor Jason Rust raised questions about the progress of the HMS Edinburgh bid *earlier this week and expressed dismay that it would not be berthed beside the Royal Yacht *Britannia.

He said: “It is disappointing that the berthing would require to be at another location, but I hope that the expanded feasibility study can go ahead as soon as possible and we can continue to see progress in retaining HMS Edinburgh where she belongs.”

A spokesman for the MoD said the ship would be put on the open market to achieve the best price for the public purse. He said: “We can confirm that Edinburgh City Council has approached the Disposal Services *Authority, to show their interest in obtaining HMS Edinburgh.

“However, to ensure the best possible return for the taxpayer, it is likely that an open competition will be held in 2014 to sell HMS Edinburgh and we will invite interested parties to submit their proposals then.”

HMS Edinburgh participated in the 50th anniversary of the D-Day landings and patrolled the waters around the Falkland Islands in the 1990s before “flying the flag” during visits to various South American ports.
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Old September 28th, 2013, 08:14 PM   #2
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It would be great if they can secure it for the waterfront.

Not so great is the Evening News misunderstanding where Western Harbour is. It's basically the western part of Leith Docks - nowhere near Granton - so their headline is duff.
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Old September 28th, 2013, 08:31 PM   #3
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It would be great if they can secure it for the waterfront.

Not so great is the Evening News misunderstanding where Western Harbour is. It's basically the western part of Leith Docks - nowhere near Granton - so their headline is duff.
EEN's shoddy journalism never fails to disappoint.
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Old October 17th, 2013, 07:38 PM   #4
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Edinburgh tourism gets boost from new markets

Edinburgh Evening News - 17th October, 2013

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The number of tourists flocking to Edinburgh from China, South Africa and Denmark saw significant rises last year, according to figures released by VisitScotland.

The US remains the country from where most visitors to the Capital originate, though numbers actually dropped by 6.3 per cent between 2011 and 2012. However, the number of visitors from China grew by 43.4 per cent.

And the numbers could be set to rise even further, with representatives from Marketing Edinburgh and Festivals Edinburgh invited as special guests to last month’s World Tourism Cities Federation four-day conference in Beijing.

Carol Wilkin, from Marketing Edinburgh, said: “The Far East is a crucial emerging market for Edinburgh and Scotland and raising awareness of the Capital as a visitor and business destination will be a key objective during our visit.”

The links between China and the Scottish Capital have been growing in recent years, most notably with the loan of pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang to Edinburgh Zoo. Earlier this month Edinburgh University became one of five UK higher education institutions to share in grants totalling £124,000 to work with scientists in China. Edinburgh Airport Chief Executive Gordon Dewar has also said it is only a matter of time before direct flights between Edinburgh and China are available.

The Evening News revealed in August that Edinburgh is the most popular destination for Chinese property investors in Scotland, with the number of nationals looking to make a move to the city increasing by 210 per cent between May and June 2013. Estate agent Savills said eight Chinese buyers had secured properties in 2012 – including three worth upwards of £1 million – compared with a single sale in 2011.

The growth in the Chinese middle class, and the rising popularity of Scottish exports such as whisky and golf are possible factors in the rise, along with Edinburgh’s reputation for academic prestige. The number of Chinese students taking up places at Edinburgh University rose from 992 in 2010-11 to 1600 in 2012-13.

However, the rise in visitor numbers from South Africa and Denmark is not so easy to explain. Between 2011 and 2012 the number of visitors from South Africa rose by a massive 208.4 per cent, while the number of Danish visitors leapt up by 173.1 per cent.

City culture and leisure leader Councillor Richard Lewis said: “Certainly the rise in the number of Chinese visitors can be explained by a number of factors, such as the increase in the Chinese middle class. However, the significant rise in the number of visitors from South Africa and Denmark is certainly very interesting. South Africa does have a large Scottish ex-pat population, but that doesn’t explain such a sudden jump.”
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Old October 18th, 2013, 05:26 PM   #5
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Edinburgh and Lothians most popular area of country for tourists

STV News - 18th October, 2013

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Edinburgh and the Lothians was the most popular area for international tourists in Scotland last year, with the highest visitor numbers, tourist spend and hotel occupancy, VisitScotland figures have shown.

The numbers peaked in August and September and the most popular attraction was the National Museum of Scotland.

Glasgow and the Clyde Valley was second most visited area, and the Highlands & Islands third favourite for visitors.

VisitScotland, the country’s tourism body, collected visitor statistics for each every area of Scotland in 2012.

The Tourism in Scotland’s Regions 2012 report looks at how visitors from the UK and overseas behave when they are here.

Other figures showed that Orkney kept people there for the longest time, with UK visitors staying an average of eight days, compared to the average three days in the rest of the country.

And the report also suggested that Norwegians are particularly enamoured with Aberdeen City and Shire, with 35,000 visiting the region last year spending £18m and only spending more in the Capital.

Across Scotland, tourists from the US were the most numerous, with 324,000 spending a total of £274 million.

Scotland drew 281,000 visitors from Germany and 174,000 from France over the same period.

The top attraction in the country was Strathclyde Country Park with 5.5 million people visiting the 400-hectare site between Hamilton and Motherwell in North Lanarkshire.

In Edinburgh almost 1.9 million people visited National Museum of Scotland and 1.2 million passed through the gates of Edinburgh Castle.

Glasgow's Riverside Museum and Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum both attracted more than a million visitors.

Elsewhere in Scotland, 1.1 million people flocked to the shores of Loch Lomond and more than a million visited Dean Castle Country Park in Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire.

Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, said: “The Tourism in Scotland’s Regions 2012 report is incredibly useful as it allows us to gain an insight into our visitors, their activities and how they are likely to spend their money.

“This in turn, gives us the ability to engineer our award winning marketing activity to suit their needs; something which is of vital importance as we prepare to welcome the world in 2014.”
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Old October 18th, 2013, 07:42 PM   #6
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Leith Docks still a possible home for HMS Edinburgh

Greener Leith - 17th October, 2013



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Contrary to what you may have read in the Evening News recently, campaigners hoping to find a permanent berth for HMS Edinburgh in the city that bears the ships name have confirmed that it may still be possible to find space for it in Leith Docks after all.

The news emerged after a meeting this week between The Lord Provost, Donald Wilson, and Paul Gibb, from the Save HMS Edinburgh campaign.

In a post on the campaign Facebook page Mr Gibb said: “I had a meeting with The Lord Provost of Edinburgh to discuss HMS Edinburgh. We had a lengthy chat and put across a lot of ideas that have been discussed.

“The first thing I want to say is the Leith option is still very much on the table, however putting her forward of HMY Britannia is not (it won’t fit), but they have a few locations in mind and somewhere to put her short term. The main issue is getting the MOD disposals team to favour Edinburgh Councils bid to obtain HMS Edinburgh. The best way to achieve this is by doing what we have been doing and keeping up the public campaign to get her home.

“The Lord Provost is fully committed to saving HMS Edinburgh and what we are doing here. But what we both agreed was that if public support vanishes for the campaign then so will the ship.”

If you would like to support the campaign to bring HMS Edinburgh to Leith then you can sign the official petition here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/50317

To date nearly 2000 people have signed it, but it is likely far more public and political support will be needed if the Save HMS Edinburgh campaign is to successfully persuade the Ministry of Defence not to auction the ship off to the highest bidder.

Another member of the Save HMS Edinburgh campaign, Graham Whyte has also floated the idea that a much needed Leith Museum could be found a home as part of the HMS Edinburgh visitor centre, were the campaign to save the boat to be successful.

Many locals have long harboured an ambition to open a museum that celebrates Leith’s place in the world, and so it may be that bringing HMS Edinburgh to Leith could provide the financial anchor to support it.
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Old November 1st, 2013, 02:26 PM   #7
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Edinburgh Castle named top heritage attraction in UK for third year

STV News - 1st November, 2013



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Edinburgh Castle has been named the top heritage attraction in the UK for the third year in a row.

The world-famous visitor attraction scooped the honour at the British Travel Awards in London.

The castle, which receives more than 1.2m visitors a year, was the only Scottish attraction to be short-listed this year, Historic Scotland said.

Mike Cantlay, chairman of tourism body Visit Scotland, said: "What a fantastic achievement in what has been a truly exceptional year for Edinburgh Castle.

"With bumper visitor figures and continued accolades from visitors and industry alike, the castle continues to be the jewel in Scotland's tourism crown."

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "To win this prestigious award three times in a row confirms that Edinburgh Castle's fascinating history, dramatic location and panoramic views have an enduring appeal for visitors of all ages both in the UK and around the world.

"Situated on top of an extinct volcano, the castle also provides an unrivalled backdrop for events such as the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and spectacular fireworks at the end of the Edinburgh International Festival and at Hogmanay."

British Travel Awards' chief executive Lorraine Barnes Burton said Edinburgh Castle was to be congratulated on the achievement.
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Old November 9th, 2013, 01:32 PM   #8
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City offered first refusal to buy HMS Edinburgh

Edinburgh Evening News - 9th November, 2013



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Edinburgh is to be offered first refusal on providing the final berth for the battleship that bears its name.

HMS Edinburgh, which retired from service earlier this year, was due to be put up for sale at an international auction.

But now defence chiefs have had a change of heart and say they will have talks with the city council about a direct sale.

The move has revived hopes that the Type 42 destroyer could become a permanent tourist attraction at the city’s waterfront, moored close to the Royal Yacht Britannia.

No price has been mentioned but other Type 42s have been sold for about £2 million.

Independent Lothians MSP Margo MacDonald said she hoped the Scottish Government and VisitScotland would chip in to help the council secure the ship.

News of the MoD’s change of heart came in a letter to Ms MacDonald from Defence Equipment Minister Philip Dunne. He said: “In view of the council’s strong interest and the ship’s long association with the city, the Disposal Services Authority would be prepared, in the first instance, to consider a direct, non-competitive sale to Edinburgh City Council.”

Ms MacDonald said: “I had given up a bit of hope, but maybe the ship will come home after all.”

Lothian Conservative MSP Cameron Buchanan said: “This is great news from the UK Government, and makes the prospect of bringing the ‘Fortress of the Sea’ home a real possibility. Now I think we need to get on and find a home for this great ship and make this happen.”

VisitScotland welcomed the MoD’s move as “great news for Edinburgh and Scotland”.

A spokesman said: “It’s difficult to estimate how many extra visitors it might attract, but you just need to look at the popularity of the Royal Yacht Britannia.

“There will be enthusiasts from across Scotland and the UK and perhaps internationally who would add Edinburgh to their itinerary.

Depute council leader Steve Cardownie entered a note of caution, warning that the full costs involved would have to be examined carefully. He said: “The purchase is just one aspect of this. We need to look at the overall costs and funding and the projected income. I can see that of we had both HMS Edinburgh and Britannia they could complement each other. This is an interesting development and merits investigation.”

Graham Birse, of Edinburgh Napier University’s business school, wants to see the battleship come to the Capital.

He said: “Because we already have Britannia, having HMS Edinburgh nearby would be an attractive option – not just in terms of the extra visitors it would bring, but also the connection between Edinburgh and the armed services over the years.

“Many people don’t realise until they get here that we have a maritime foreshore and docks.

“This would help promote that and also memories of our naval past.”
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Old November 12th, 2013, 02:04 PM   #9
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HMS Edinburgh plan backed by Britannia chiefs

Edinburgh Evening News - 12th November, 2013

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Plans to moor HMS Edinburgh at Leith have been given a royal seal of approval.

Bosses of the Royal Yacht Britannia attraction say they would like to take on the task of running HMS Edinburgh, if the retired warship can be secured as another tourist attraction for Leith.

The Evening News revealed on Saturday that the Ministry of Defence, which previously insisted the Type 42 destroyer would be put up for auction, has had a change of heart and is now ready to enter talks about a direct sale to the city council.

Estimates have suggested around £2 million might be needed to buy the ship. But today, Bob Downie, chief executive of Royal Yacht Britannia, said based on the scrap value of other vessels recently disposed of by the MoD, he believed it could be secured for as little as £200,000.

And – in a clear endorsement of the ambitious plan – he said the Britannia management would like to be considered for the role of operating the new attraction.

He said: “We would be interested in helping to run it, We have the infrastructure in place – you wouldn’t need to appoint a new chief executive and heads of department. We have a management team here and we have been running Britannia without a subsidy for 15 years very successfully.

“Anything that attracts more visitors to this part of the city can only be good for us.”

Under his stewardship Mr Downie has seen the royal frigate become one of Scotland’s most visited attractions – and he clearly senses the benefit of a new gun-metal grey addition to the area.

He added: “We’re a charitable trust so we can’t risk our money, but running it for a fee is something we would be interested in.”

Ocean Terminal shopping centre also welcomed the prospect of HMS Edinburgh joining Britannia at the waterfront. Centre manager Dennis Jones said it would enhance the whole area.

He said: “Everyone knows what a success Britannia is and to add to that would be terrific. HMS Edinburgh would pair nicely with Britannia and add to the critical mass of the whole area. Anything that pulls more people in, especially something unique, would be good not just for Ocean Terminal but all of Leith.”

The city council has pointed out the purchase price is only one element of the costs involved in establishing HMS Edinburgh as a tourist attraction. But it has been suggested the Scottish Government, VisitScotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund might all contribute to the overall project.
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Old November 12th, 2013, 06:51 PM   #10
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I really hope a deal works out. The waterfront desperately needs something like this to renew interest in the area after being virtually abandoned.
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Old November 12th, 2013, 10:27 PM   #11
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I really hope a deal works out. The waterfront desperately needs something like this to renew interest in the area after being virtually abandoned.
Agreed. Especially since we were once promised this!

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Old November 12th, 2013, 10:56 PM   #12
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Agreed. Especially since we were once promised this!

I miss those optimistic days! We'll never see that now, but the land around Ocean Terminal and Victoria Quay still has lots of potential. I'm always surprised more didn't happen there before the recession.
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Old November 13th, 2013, 01:33 PM   #13
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Growing number of tourists planning UK trips and Edinburgh visits

STV News - 13th November, 2013

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Royal baby news and the success of TV shows such as Downton Abbey are driving increased interest in the UK from American would-be tourists — and many of them have Scotland on their list of must-see destinations.

Travellers from long-haul markets such as China and Singapore are also looking to the UK as a possible holiday spot, according to a survey by TripAdvisor.

The USA topped the list of fastest-growing markets, with a 23% year-on-year growth in internet searches for the UK, the company said.

Second was Canada (up 21%) followed by the UK's own residents (up 20%), Singapore (up 19%) and China (up 18%).

Looking at sheer numbers rather than the rise in growth, UK residents made up the majority of searches for UK destinations on TripAdvisor, with the USA second and Germany third.

London was the most popular destination for UK as well as world travellers, with Edinburgh second for world travellers and the Highlands fourth.

TripAdvisor for Business marketing vice president Alison Copus said: "In the year of the post-Olympics afterglow and a new royal baby to celebrate, it is clear that the UK's place on the world stage is as strong as ever.

"Overall, interest in UK destinations is on the rise, and not just to the traditional holiday hotspots on the coast or in the capital."
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Old November 15th, 2013, 02:57 PM   #14
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Council needs HMS Edinburgh study

Edinburgh Evening News - 15th November, 2013



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John McLellan writes:

If there is one kind of attraction Scotland isn’t short of, it’s museums about the sea.

Want to know about the North Sea? Then head to the Aberdeen Maritime Museum. Captain Scott and Polar expeditions? Dundee’s Discovery is the place for you.

And if Clyde shipbuilding blows your foghorn then look no further than the Denny Tank at the Scottish Maritime Museum’s Dumbarton base or Glasgow’s magnificent Riverside museum with its very own tall ship, the Glenlee, and superb collection of scale models.

Here in Edinburgh, of course, we have the Royal Yacht Britannia, berthed in Leith since its decommissioning in 1997 and opened to the public the following year following a bidding process in which Edinburgh eventually pipped Manchester to the prize.

Some thought Leith was a strange choice, given Clydebank-built Britannia had no specific connection to the port. But the fact Forth Ports had a redevelopment plan for the Western Harbour and pledged to foot the bill for its new home meant there was no cost to the taxpayer.

That, plus the Royal Family’s clear association with Edinburgh and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, meant the bid was strong.

Britannia was the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence and it was no hindrance to have two Scottish MPs at the helm, Defence Secretary George Robertson and Armed Forces secretary John Reid.

But I also like to think the petition organised by the Evening News was crucial too, by demonstrating there was widespread popular support in Edinburgh while no such campaign was mounted by the rivals.

While it has no engine, it’s fair to say Britannia has not stood still since it opened for business 15 years ago, and since then it has been joined by the Royal racing yacht Bloodhound. You can also see the Royal Barge which the Queen used during the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant.

And for real sea-faring enthusiasts, Leith remains home to the sea-going steam trawler SS Explorer, the subject of much controversy over the years as its dogged Preservation Society bids to ensure its place in maritime history is recognised and maintained.

Now it seems there is a real chance for another attraction to be added to Leith’s list in HMS Edinburgh, the Birkenhead-built Type 42 destroyer which was decommissioned earlier this year.

With an apparent price-tag of anything between £200,000 and £2m it seems like an opportunity worth exploring, especially with all the well-documented problems facing the regeneration of the port since the collapse of the housing market.

Now that Forth Ports is in private hands and looking for non-residential uses for its land, an attraction like HMS Edinburgh might be just the ticket.

Of course buying the boat from the MoD is just the start of the costs. There is the refitting required to make the ship visitor-friendly and the infrastructure needed in and around the harbour to turn it into a modern amenity.

The first thing needed would be a feasibility study, but even getting that afloat seems to be causing some difficulty. Lord Provost Donald Wilson was said to be keen, but with city council finance strained it is only prepared to put up a quarter of the estimated £30,000 cost.

The key number which only a feasibility study can identify is how many additional visitors and cash HMS Edinburgh would generate.

The WW2 cruiser HMS Belfast might be a reasonable guide, with its prime location on the South Bank of the Thames. Even so, it had to be rescued from financial disaster seven years after it opened as a museum in 1971 and is now run as an arm of the Imperial War Museum. From a high of about 1.4m visitors soon after it opened, by 2007 its numbers had fallen to about 250,000. But it remains high on London’s list of attractions.

Of course competition in London is fierce but even so, it makes for an interesting comparison with the 296,000 who visited Britannia last year. The Royal Yacht’s high-water mark was around 400,000 just after it opened so its performance has been remarkably resilient and it has shown a steady income growth in recent years, from just over £4m in 2008.

The question then, is how many more people who wouldn’t venture to Britannia would be tempted by HMS Edinburgh?

Certainly there would be novelty value in the early period and plenty of Lothians people who have not been to the port for years would probably make the effort.

Direct comparisons between HMS Edinburgh and HMS Belfast are difficult; one a modern ship with a limited history of action, the other a symbol of the Senior Service at its heroic best, with the sinking of the Scharnhorst amongst its many battle honours.

But the kind of experience offered by Belfast (classes of schoolchildren can spend the night in its hammocks, for instance) if made available on HMS Edinburgh in Leith would bring something totally different.

And then of course there is Leith’s maritime heritage itself. A Leith Museum has long been talked about but seems as far off as ever.

So what’s to be done? Britannia was brought to Edinburgh by a partnership and popular demand so surely there must be an opportunity for all those with an interest in HMS Edinburgh to work together, at least to fund the feasibility study.

The city council will put up some cash, Forth Ports have identified harbour space, the Britannia Trust has the professional organisation to run an expanded business. And Ocean Terminal is desperate to give the shopping mall a new lease of life.

As with the Imperial War Museum and its five branches, maybe the National Museums of Scotland should get involved. After the huge success of the Chambers Street revamp and its experience of successfully running the Museum of Flight at East Fortune it’s not short of expertise.

Between all of those organisations, there is no excuse for not proving the case one way or another.
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Old November 17th, 2013, 02:52 PM   #15
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HMS Edinburgh ‘could bring in thousands more’

Edinburgh Evening News - 16th November, 2013

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Thousands more visitors could be drawn to Edinburgh’s waterfront if HMS Edinburgh joined the Royal Yacht Britannia as an attraction in Leith, a tourism expert said today.

Professor Joe Goldblatt, of Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University, said there was strong potential for the retired Type 42 Destroyer to pull in new tourists if it were to find its last berthing place in the Capital.

A week ago the Evening News revealed the Ministry of Defence had performed a U-turn and was willing to have direct talks with the city council about a non-competitive sale of the warship. It had previously insisted it would be put up for auction.

Following the change of heart, Britannia chief executive Bob Downie suggested the ship could be secured for as little as £200,000 and said the Britannia management would be interested in running it alongside the Royal Yacht.

Professor Goldblatt said in the United States ships were huge visitor attractions. In San Diego, former aircraft carrier the USS Midway attracts almost a million visitors a year.

Professor Goldblatt said US museum ships were typically used not only as tourist attractions but also hired out for special events – including fund-raising events by companies, associations and charities.

But he warned the crucial factor was how the ship was managed and promoted.

He said: “It’s the management of these attractions which is critical. The Royal Yacht Britannia has been successful because of the exemplary management and marketing it has had.”

He pointed to the museum ship USS Intrepid in New York City which has had repeated money problems despite being in a place with such a big population and a huge number of tourists.

Professor Goldblatt said: “It’s because it has not had the same quality of management and marketing that Britannia has enjoyed or the ship in San Diego.

“But it shows it’s not just a case of sailing a ship into a port and people will come and visit.

“It still requires strong marketing and management.”

Some 250,000 people a year visit Britannia and Professor Goldblatt said having HMS Edinburgh close by could boost numbers by ten or 20 per cent. As the News reported yesterday, in McLellan’s Edinburgh, the berth could also have a beneficial knock-on boom for the Ocean Terminal.

The professor added: “Co-location is one of the growing trends in visitor attractions – having two attractions of a similar nature close together. It’s like in a shopping mall, people like to go to one place and use their time efficiently to see as much as possible.”

Independent Lothian MSP Margo MacDonald, who has been lobbying for HMS Edinburgh to come to Leith, has said she hopes the Scottish Government and VisitScotland will chip in to help the council secure the ship.

The Fortress of the Sea

HMS Edinburgh was built by Cammell Laird of Birkenhead, launched on April 14, 1983 and commissioned on December 17, 1985.

Know as the “Fortress of the Sea”, she served in the Second Gulf War in 2003 and carried out a range of other duties.

She underwent a £17.5 million refit in 2010, returning to the fleet in October that year.

HMS Edinburgh was the last of the Type 42 destroyer to serve in the Royal Navy and was decommissioned on June 6 this year after a farewell tour of Great Britain, which ended with two days when she was open to the public in Portsmouth.
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Old November 18th, 2013, 02:55 PM   #16
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Leith bid to lure cruise ships to Edinburgh

Edinburgh Evening News - 18th November, 2013



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Plans to lure more cruise ships to Edinburgh could see the area’s docks revamped.

With holidays on the ocean waves enjoying a surge in popularity, there has never been a better time to formulate an action plan to grab a slice of this lucrative and high-end holiday market, council chiefs believe.

Buoyed by already encouraging numbers of cruise ships berthing, tourism bosses now have a plan to revamp Leith’s harbour – making it accessible to the new breed of superliners that provide five-star luxury.

Officials want more of the ships to dock at Leith and off South Queensferry on the back of one of the strongest years for cruise tours to the Capital.

A total of 55 cruise ships visited Edinburgh this year, with 21 anchoring off South Queensferry and the rest *docking in Leith.

Giant liner The Grand Mistral was among the visiting ships, bringing more than 8000 passengers on her three calls to Leith this season.

An estimated 48,600 passengers came to South Queensferry alone in 2013, generating more than £370,000 in income.

A Forth Ports spokesman, who labelled Leith as Scotland’s “marquee” docking point, said: “Bookings for the 2014 and 2015 seasons are healthy and we are working hard with our partners to continue to promote Scotland as a destination and to further enhance the cruise passenger experience when they arrive.”

With plans to build thousands of homes on the Capital’s waterfront largely abandoned due to the economic downturn, the council is now keen to transform Leith into a 21st century gateway to the east of Scotland.

A new finger pier and improved lock gates to cater for ferry services and increased cruise-liner visits are still being considered by the authority. The ambition is to grow tourism spend by £485 million a year and create an extra 8400 jobs in the sector.

VisitScotland regional director Manuela Calchini said: “Over the last ten years there has been encouraging growth in the cruise sector.

“VisitScotland has been working closely with Cruise Scotland to identify ways to support the industry in exploiting this growing opportunity for the region.

“As Scotland welcomes the world next year, all further growth in this market would be greatly welcomed.”

Cruise Scotland was given nearly £15,000 two years ago from the VisitScotland growth fund to promote Scotland as a cruise destination at trade shows.

Independent tourism group Cruise Forth, which has *concentrated its work on South Queensferry and Rosyth, will be asked to promote Leith for the first time in a bid to boost visits.
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Old December 10th, 2013, 08:57 PM   #17
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Castle named among UK’s top tourist attractions

Edinburgh Evening News - 10th December, 2013

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Edinburgh Castle has been named as one of the top attractions that tourists can find “only in Britain”.

The historic site proved a popular choice among visitors from the US, Canada and Italy in the VisitBritain survey. It came third overall, behind Buckingham Palace and a bird’s eye view of London, in the research, which saw nearly 10,000 visitors take part.

Of those, 19 per cent had Edinburgh Castle in their top three, with seven per cent ranking it as number one.

Patricia Yates, director of strategy and communications at VisitBritain, said: “Edinburgh Castle, an iconic site that dominates the skyline, inspires visitors across the world.

“This new global survey confirms there is a knowledge and desire to enjoy these gems as Scotland gets ready to welcome the world.”
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Old December 17th, 2013, 01:55 PM   #18
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Edinburgh among CNN's 10 best cities for a winter vacation

26th November, 2013

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Edinburgh, Scotland



Cobbled streets, a beautiful castle and lovely public gardens make Edinburgh a beautiful city any time of year, but in winter it's breathtaking.

Since the launch of Virgin Atlantic's Little Red service, it's even easier to get to, with regular flights between other UK cities including Manchester and London.

Princes Street Gardens are transformed into a wonderland, complete with ice skating rink, enormous Christmas tree and a Ferris wheel, all in the shadow of the castle.

On the edge of the city, Arthur's Seat is the perfect location for a winter walk and the views from the top are second to none.

Where to eat: Edinburgh isn't about haggis and tatties. For fine dining, One Square restaurant and bar at the Sheraton Grand on Festival Square is the place to go. The drinks menu is impressive -- there are 52 types of gin to choose from.

One Square, 1 Festival Square, Edinburgh, +44 131 221 6422; daily, 7 a.m.-10:30 p.m.

Where to sleep: Jurys Inn is a short walk from the main attractions and offers a warm Scottish welcome.

Jurys Inn, 43 Jeffrey St., Edinburgh; +44 131 200 3300

What to do: A tour around Edinburgh's underground vaults is a great way to learn about the city's fascinating history.

More: CNNGo TV in Edinburgh: City of ghosts, a great coast and spectacular kilts
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Old January 3rd, 2014, 10:15 PM   #19
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Britannia has a bumper year

Edinburgh Reporter - 3rd January, 2014



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Better visitor numbers than ever before, but more importantly happier visitors too went to have a look at the royal yacht in 2013.

Staff on The Royal Yacht Britannia are celebrating their best year since 2003, welcoming approximately 300,000 visitors from across the world, in a year that marked the 60th Anniversary of the launch of the iconic vessel.

Judged as being Scotland’s Best Visitor Attraction, for the 8th year running, by Scotland’s national tourism agency, VisitScotland, Britannia equalled its own record for the highest mark ever awarded to a visitor attraction, achieving an overall score of 96% for quality assurance across every aspect of the customer experience.

Britannia was also presented with the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence and Travellers’ Choice Awards this year, with almost 4,000 reviews to date, averaging 72% Excellent. This puts the attraction among the top three in Scotland, and the top six in the UK. The Awards honour the world’s best attractions, based on millions of reviews and opinions from travellers around the globe.

In a record breaking year, the business was also awarded the national Gold Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) in recognition of its commitment to sustainable tourism and minimising impact on the environment.

According to Chief Executive, Bob Downie, at the heart of Britannia’s success is an absolute commitment to the quality of the customer experience. “We are extremely proud of how successful Britannia has become as a visitor attraction since ‘retiring’ from royal service, which is testament to those who built her, those whom served aboard, and those who now lovingly care for the former Royal Yacht.”

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Old January 5th, 2014, 10:34 PM   #20
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lots of good news.

surely the leith plan is no-brainer. cruise ship holidays are getting even more popular and a stop at edinburgh would be perfect to boost tourism.
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