A Dundee business guru has said the city has been “crying out” for an attraction like the Eden Project as she insisted the economic benefits it could bring should not be underestimated.
The City of Discovery has been identified as the top choice for Eden Project Scotland, with some predicting it could bring “billions” of pounds to the city.
Alison Henderson, chief executive of Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce, has said the city’s tourism industry will see a boost like never before – and believes visitors will be packing out hotels for longer as more sightseeing options become available.
She said: “This is really exciting. Transformation projects like V&A Dundee and Eden Project Scotland are things our area needs, so it is hugely welcome news.
“Dundee has been crying out for something like this and it will encourage people to stay for two or three nights because there will be lots of different things for them to do.
“We should not underestimate the impact this will have on businesses and there will be job opportunities from building and supply.
“We will be talking to businesses to see how they can take advantage of having something like this on their doorstep.”
After the opening of the original Eden Project in Cornwall in 2001, it has gone on to be a worldwide attraction and generated an estimated £2bn for the local economy.
Caroline Warburton, regional leadership director for VisitScotland, believes the arrival of Eden Project can only improve the city’s status as a first class visitor attraction.
She said: “It is very exciting to hear that a feasibility study will be carried out into a proposed new Eden Project in Dundee.
“The city’s Unesco city of design status and the phenomenal success of V&A Dundee has helped to put it in the global spotlight.
“The possibility of an additional attraction of this calibre would play a significant role in supporting the city and Scotland’s economic recovery in the future, and play an important role in attracting visitors when the time is right once again.”
Eden Project Scotland’s potential arrival has been mooted just two years after the opening of V&A Dundee.
Philip Long, director of V&A Dundee, says it can only improve fortunes for the city as a whole.
He said: “The coming of an Eden Project to Dundee would be an extraordinary opportunity for the city and for Scotland, not just for the audiences it would attract but also in the way it could support ever greater understanding of the natural world and the importance of a sustainable future.”
Opposition politicians ‘excited’ by Eden Project
Opposition politicians have welcomed the news the Eden Project could set its new home up in Dundee.
Bill Bowman, Conservative MSP for the North East, said this could help revitalise some of Dundee’s most deprived areas,
“At a time when so many good projects have paused in Dundee, there is another opportunity to show it is a city reinventing itself,” he said.
“The Cornwall Eden is a world-leading exhibition of ideas, design and science.
“I absolutely welcome these exploratory steps to establish a first for Scotland, here.”
Councillor Fraser Macpherson, leader of the Liberal Democrats in Dundee, also said: “I feel there will be cross-party support for working with Eden Project International on this potentially really exciting project for Dundee.”
Hopes of more research opportunities in Dundee
It is hoped the proposed Eden Project could bring in a range of research and environmental opportunities to Dundee.
Kevin Frediani, curator of Dundee Botanic Gardens and head of grounds at Dundee University, believes the project will bring a raft of opportunities.
He said: “The Eden Project is an eco success story in terms of bringing sustainability into the public eye and all of us will welcome bringing that lens to Dundee.
“As a gardener I am looking forward to all the opportunities there will be for the botanic gardens to network with Eden and complement each other, which is fantastic.
“I came to Dundee because I believed there was something latent in Dundee I could unlock in the gardens, and having Eden here would allow me to do even more of that.”