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Regional Spotlight: Edinburgh

13 September 2004
Regional Spotlight: Edinburgh

As a city, Edinburgh needs no introduction, and as a location for hospitality businesses, it really has a lot going for it.

For accommodation businesses, it is "a goldmine", says Stuart Ferguson, director of the Edinburgh office of property agent Christie & Co. He points out that, while other cities struggle in August, Edinburgh enjoys its busiest month, thanks largely to the hugely popular Edinburgh Festival.

The city enjoys a good mix of tourism and business trade, and even the shoulder months of January to March have been helped by the arrival of the budget airlines.

Apart from the lack of availability, the biggest problem faced by new entrants is the high prices, affected by local residential values. As a rule of thumb, Ferguson says you should expect to pay 15-20% more than elsewhere in Scotland. The result is that some freehold businesses are worth more as an alternative use, and recently this has seen some accommodation businesses, in particular, convert to residential use.

On the pubs front, the city attracts lots of interest from local and national pub chains and they have a strong hold on the market, making it difficult for private owners to gain a foothold.

However, Edinburgh is a compact city, roughly half the size of Glasgow, Scotland's other major centre. For those without deep pockets, one option, says Ferguson, is to head for less-fashionable, off-pitch areas such as Leith Road, and arterial roads.

But if you can get a foothold in the city, Ferguson says: "The raw materials for a good business are there on your doorstep."

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