Trams up and running
Edinburgh's new tram service is expected to be open for business by May 2014. The service will run from the city centre to the Gyle Centre, as well as taking passengers to and from Edinburgh Airport. Prices have also been revealed, with a city single ticket costing £1.50 for adults and just 70p for children, in line with the current bus fare prices. Moreover, passengers will be able to purchase a day ticket on Lothian buses for the current price of £3.50 - or £2.00 for a child – but will now be able to use the ticket on any of the trams within the city, in addition to the buses.
This is part of a plan to successfully integrate the tramlines into Edinburgh’s existing public transport system. However, low prices are not the only good news from the trams; expansions at Edinburgh Airport also mean that the airport tram stop will be closer to the terminal, increasing international travellers' convenience and making the journey to and from the city centre even easier.
"Edinburgh is already a highly regarded premier conferencing location and the EICC is right at the forefront. With a modern, fully integrated tram system that links the airport to the city via business districts and key rail links, Edinburgh will become an even more exciting prospect for conference organisers. We’re already seeing growing interest from investors who can see the benefits that the trams can offer their businesses and with the service launch fast approaching, now is the ideal time to invest in Edinburgh," says Cllr Lesley Hinds, City of Edinburgh Council Transport Convener. Here are some aerial views of the Edinburgh tram route.
"The new Edinburgh tram route will provide conference delegates travelling from the airport with even greater ease of access to the city centre. The trams will stop at Haymarket Station, just minutes from the EICC and many city centre hotels. We look forward to welcoming EICC delegates onto our trams from spring 2014."Edinburgh Trams General Manager
New routes and £150 million investment at Edinburgh Airport
May 2014 will see the opening of the first direct flight route between Chicago and Edinburgh, which will fly five times a week between 23 May and 12 June, before operating a daily service until 02 September. After this the United Airlines route will fly four times a week until 06 October.
First Minister Alex Salmond praised the new transatlantic route, citing the benefits to Scotland’s tourism, trade and economy that will come along with the direct link to the United States, with passengers no longer needing to travel via London.
New routes have also recently been announced to Doha in the Middle East and Oslo and Stavanger in Norway. In addition to the new routes, Edinburgh Airport will also enjoy a £25 million expansion of its terminal building, offering passengers a larger space and a more efficient security area. This expansion, which is part of the £150 million investment in the airport, will also include creating more retail spaces and building a new business centre within the terminal area.
Luxury in the city
Multrees Walk, often described as Edinburgh's answer to Bond Street, welcomes a Nespresso boutique and a Burberry retail outlet to its collection of high-end shops. The quality coffee boutique opened in early December and offers shoppers the chance to taste Nespresso's extensive range of beverages, with trained specialists on hand to help. Customers can purchase the full range of Nespresso's products, such as its coffee machines and accessories. Luxury clothing designer Burberry will also open a store in Multrees Walk - its first in Scotland. These new arrivals will join Hugo Boss, Pandora and Louis Vuitton, all of which have already established themselves on the walk.
Premier Inn has announced plans to build a Japanese-style pod hotel in Edinburgh. The new concept is called ‘hub by Premier Inn’ and focuses on using space efficiently, in homage to the original Japanese creations born of necessity in the country’s crowded cities. The ‘hub’ rooms will be just 11.4 sq. metres but will make use of every available inch, featuring a desk that transforms itself into a bed. Whilst using minimal space, the hub will maximise its use of technology, becoming the first hotel in the UK to have its own app. This will allow guests to choose their preferred room temperature, light setting and radio station before they arrive at the hotel, as well as to check in and order breakfast in advance. The first hub hotel will open in central London in 2014, which will be followed by additional locations throughout London and the central Edinburgh hub hotel.
New Addition to Edinburgh Zoo
Edinburgh Zoo recently saw the arrival of the UK’s first ever koala joey, born to two-year-old Alinga, who came to the zoo earlier this year. 'Immensely excited' staff at the zoo, which is the only one in the UK to have koalas, explained that breeding these animals is extremely difficult as they are solitary creatures, so the birth of a joey is a real cause for celebration. Despite being born in May, November was the first month that the joey was on show at the zoo, as baby koalas spend a further six months growing inside their mother’s pouch before popping their heads out and emerging into the world. Alinga and her joey can be seen in the newly renovated Koala Territory at the zoo.