FACTS AND FIGURES
The capital of Scotland, and the second biggest city in Scotland, Edinburgh’s population stood at 476,600 in 2011; with 850,000 people living in the wider surrounding area of Lothian. 19.5% of the population are in their twenties (the second highest figure in Scotland, bar Aberdeen); and the highest number of people in their thirties in the country, which make up 15.2% of the population. In total, Edinburgh’s population has increased by almost 28,000 in the past ten years, which is perhaps not surprising given the fact it has won 13 Best UK City awards in the past 8 years.
Edinburgh is a fairly prosperous city, and has the strongest economy of all the cities in the UK outside of London. Employment-wise in 2010, only 3.6% of Edinburgh’s working-age population were unemployed, compared to the Scottish national average of 4.5%. The top three employers in Edinburgh are the City Council, employing over 20,000 people; the NHS Lothian with 19,500 employees and the Royal Bank of Scotland, with over 9,000 employees.
Reaching Edinburgh by air couldn’t be any easier; as the largest airport in Scotland, it serves almost 25,000 passengers a day or 9 million a year, and has an average of 311 flights each day. With direct domestic and international flights to cities in Europe, the USA and Asia; Edinburgh is truly accessible for everyone.
Edinburgh is served by two train stations: Haymarket and Waverley (the main one). Waverley is the second busiest railway station in Scotland; and the fourth biggest in the UK outside of London, serving over 22 million passengers every year. The majority of Haymarket’s trains cover north of Edinburgh and smaller towns and villages, whereas Waverley connects Scotland to the UK, with direct routes to London in four and a half hours, Manchester in just over three hours and Birmingham in 5 hours.
Edinburgh’s integrated public transport system means that once in the city, getting around couldn’t be simpler. Lothian and First buses operate regular routes throughout Edinburgh and Lothian – Lothian buses alone have 650 vehicles, ensuring you’ll never have too long a wait to reach your destination. A tram system is also currently being constructed, due to open in 2014. Once completed, there will be 16 stops covering 14km of track, making commuting even easier.
Edinburgh is a very popular destination for conferences, having hosted high profile corporate events such as the 49th NATO conference and the 2003 MTV Music Awards, which saw 3000 media moguls flock to the city. Corporate events generate £300m to the city every year, and it was voted 33rd in the International Congress & Convention Centre world rankings for international association meetings. So impressive is Edinburgh, that over 60% of delegates visiting for business return for leisure 2-3 years later.
Such popularity is reflected in the vast number of conference and meeting venues, of which there are 286 in total. With 11 venues able to hold over 500 delegates, and 6 with a capacity of over 1,000; large parties will find it easy to host their event. The Royal Highland Centre can hold an impressive 10,000 delegates, and boasts an exhibition space of 18,000 squared metres and four halls which can host anything from conferences to corporate dinners. A versatile city, Edinburgh can equally offer a large amount of choice to companies wishing to hold events for smaller parties, with 124 venues offering rooms solely for 30 delegates or less.
What with all of the corporate events and tourists visiting the city, Edinburgh needs a large amount of beds to house everyone, and it does not disappoint, with 421 hotels in total offering 11,000 rooms in the city centre alone. 22 of these are five star and 189 are four star hotels; ensuring luxury is most certainly in abundance here. Nevertheless, smaller budgets are easily catered for too, with 167 three star and 21 two star hotels. Edinburgh really does have something for everyone.
LEISURE AND TOURISM
Whilst primarily here for business, there’s no way you and your delegates won’t want to spend any spare time exploring the city. Edinburgh Castle is by far the most famous attraction, with over 1 million visitors every year, and is home to museums, a chapel and the crown jewels.
In addition to this, there are over 60 museums in Edinburgh, including the Museum of Childhood, which was the first museum of its kind in the whole world; 5 theatres and numerous galleries and palaces to while away the hours.
Edinburgh’s nightlife is not to be missed either – there are plenty of restaurants; in fact, there are more restaurants per head in Edinburgh than anywhere else in the UK. More of a pub and bar city than cramped nightclubs, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Head to George Street and the West End to sample sophisticated cocktails in trendy bars, or the Grassmarket area for lively pubs – just don’t forget to sample Scotland’s national drink, Whisky!
Images courtesy of Edinburgh Convention Bureau and Visit Scotland
- Hotel Missoni is set in a prime location on the corner of George IV Bridge and the Royal Mile.
- Edinburgh’s five-star standard Missoni Hotel provides 129 rooms and seven suites over nine floors.
- The project included the retention of a 16th century Category A listed Lawnmarket building which houses 12 bedrooms and one suite.
- As well as a 100-seat restaurant and three meeting rooms, the development is home to the largest HBOS branch in Edinburgh and two retail units.