Travellers plan ahead of New Year street party

Eleven months to go before the next New Year's eve party Edinburgh's world reputation for celebrating is prompting revellers to start booking their hotel accomodation now.

With just 11 months to go before Hogmanay it appears many New Year revellers looking to celebrate the start of 2008 in Scotland are already panicking over hotel accommodation. Scotland’s growing international reputation as a destination for New Year parties is forcing hotel guests to reserve their rooms up to 12 months in advance for fear of missing out. Despite many of last year’s celebrations being cancelled by bad weather tourists are keen to make sure there is plenty room at the inn when they arrive for this year’s festivities. ”We had thought that with 2003 being cancelled in Edinburgh, and then 2006 being cancelled almost everywhere it would put people off but here we are, barely out of January, and we were already taking a fair number bookings for Hogmanay 2007.,” said Shahid Chaudhry, director of The Osbourne Hotel in Edinburgh and McLays Guest House in Glasgow.” Edinburgh, especially, has been recognised by international travel experts as one of the top 10 destinations in the world to celebrate New Year. It is calculated that more than two-thirds of the 100,000 plus visitots who flock to the city every year come from outwith Scotland. On line travel experts TripAdvisor, which caters for more than 20 million visitors a month to its websites in the US and UK, recently ranked the Scottish capital alongside Rio de Janeiro, Vienna, Berlin, Miami, Shanghai, Prague, Madrid, Vail in Colorado, and Bruges in Belgium as ideal destinations for a party. So far most of the advance bookings have been for ‘multiple occupancy rooms’ as Scotland’s promotes its reputation for being family friendly. ”Families are a growing market for Scotland and one that we are actively targeting,” said a spokeswoman for VistScotland. ”Both Edinburgh and Glasgow have great attractions for families. In Edinburgh Our Dynamic Earth, the Camera Obscura, Edinburgh Zoo and Mary Kings Close are good examples while Glasgow has Kelvingrove and the Science Museum. ”We want to be recognised as a good family holiday destination whatever the time of year”. Despite the cancellations of previous years Edinburgh council has rejected plans for a series of standby indoor venues in case of a re-run of bad weather once again threatens the city’s world renowned flagship festivities on Princes Street. Although two of the last four Hogmanay street parties have fallen victim to bad weather city leaders have ruled out a “plan B” proposal because of the cost in drawing up contingency arrangements. ends