Calls to stop Edinburgh bachelor parties have sparked backlash

Edinburgh city officials urged to adopt a ‘Stay Clear’ campaign (Picture: Getty)

A drive to reduce the number of bachelor and hen parties in Edinburgh has sparked a backlash from nightlife bosses.

The Edinburgh Old Town Association (EOTA), which represents businesses and residents in the historic center of the city, is calling on authorities to adopt a campaign against ‘harmful’ tourists.

Campaigners say Edinburgh should follow in the footsteps of Amsterdam, where licensing laws and opening hours are being tightened in a bid to discourage visitors who are mainly interested in cannabis shops and the red-light district of city.

Eric Drake, head of EOTA, told Edinburgh Evening News last week: “It is clear that tourism is important to Edinburgh economy but I think, as Amsterdam says, you have to weigh that against the impact on the people of the city.

“Without wanting to sound snobby, some types of tourists are better for the city or have less of an impact than others.”

The activists have since been branded a ‘puritan corps’ by the boss of a company that organizes stag and hen parties in Edinburgh for thousands of people each year.

Matt Mavir has warned that killing off such events will cost Edinburgh ‘tens of millions’ each year with ‘disastrous consequences’ for the city’s hospitality workers.

He said: “Less than five years ago, Edinburgh was voted Britain’s best party city and even beat Las Vegas and Sao Paulo.

Organizers say Edinburgh is their third most popular hen party destination in Europe (Picture: Getty)

Organizers say Edinburgh is their third most popular hen party destination in Europe (Picture: Getty)

‘Fast forward to now, and you’ve got Puritan snoopers trying to suck the fun out of much of the city.

“Just suggesting they won’t be welcome will only push them into the arms of a city that will happily accept what they bring.”

Treating revelers as ‘second-class tourists’ would turn Edinburgh into a ‘city where you are only welcome if your face suits you’, he added.

Edinburgh council hasn’t come out explicitly against stag and hen parties, though it does crack down on Airbnb rentals and adult entertainment.

An effective ban on strip clubs and similar venues is set to come into effect in March, although the move is subject to judicial review following a challenge by a union representing sex workers and several local businesses.

The union will argue that the ban amounts to gender discrimination against women and undermines their right to respect for private and family life under the European Convention on Human Rights .

Landlords are required to obtain planning permission to use properties for short-term rentals and have been denied permission where it would affect neighbours, according to EOTA.

York activists, including local Labor MP Rachael Maskell, are pushing for the city to create ‘stag and hen zones’ to stop parties bleeding into residential areas.

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