The past two decades have seen an 18% decline in the number of hotels in Scotland, while more than 500 new restaurants have opened in the same period.
According to the latest liquor licence statistics from the Scottish Executive, the number of hotels fell by 535 from 2,959 in 1980 to 2,424 in 2002, while the number of restaurants granted liquor licences rose from 921 to 1,453 and pubs increased from 4,472 to 5,082.
Overall there are 17,059 liquor licences in Scotland with Edinburgh accounting for nearly 12%. Edinburgh is proving the hotbed of new openings, with 92 new licences granted for hotels, pubs and clubs in the last year alone. The research also showed that 86 per cent of licensed pubs in Edinburgh were regularly granted extended hours last year.
The decline in hotel numbers and the increase in pub and restaurant figures is echoed in the most recent VAT registration data, which revealed a reduction of 4,175 in the number of hotels between 1994 and 2002 across the whole of the UK. Over the same period the number of restaurants rose from 45,570 to 47,870 and the number of pubs from 44,560 to 45,615.