How many delegates and journalists will give up traveling to Glasgow for COP26, which opens on October 31? Probably many of them, given the exorbitant prices displayed by hotels and the Airbnb platform for the period in the economic capital of Scotland. Hoteliers and individuals have shamelessly increased their prices, to levels inaccessible for small budgets. It takes between 300 and 400 euros per night for a room not too far from the city center, and 1,000 euros per night for the most central locations. Some have even rented vans (between 114 and 180 euros per night on Airbnb), others places in dormitories.
A citizen network, Human Hotel, offers Glasgow residents accommodation for delegates during the climate summit and more than 800 have fortunately answered the call. But in mid-October, 3,000 people were still waiting on the network’s list for a bed to become available … Many have fallen back on a room or an apartment in Edinburgh, about 80 kilometers away. Airbnb offerings are plentiful in Scotland’s political capital and prices have also climbed, but not as much as in Glasgow. Problem: the M8, the motorway, which connects Glasgow to Edinburgh, one of the busiest in the United Kingdom, risks being completely congested, many leaders having chosen to stay in Edinburgh. This is particularly the case of US President Jo Biden.
At the beginning of October, the daily The Scotsman was already warning motorists: at the beginning of November, the M8 may be partially closed at peak times, it would be better for them to opt for teleworking. Fortunately, trains leave every twenty minutes from Edinburgh to Glasgow, the journey takes no more than an hour, and the ScotRail unions lifted a strike notice at the end of October that they had issued for the duration of the COP26, after winning the case over wage increases.
The constraints of the Covid
In addition, for many foreign nationals – non-Europeans – a visa is required to enter the UK. Just like proof of double vaccination or a negative test. These constraints may also have slowed down or discouraged delegates from countries that still have very limited access to vaccines, those that the levels of infection in the United Kingdom would worry about (they have started to rise sharply) or even nationals of the few countries listed. still on the UK’s red list – Panama, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Colombia (they must self-isolate for ten days in a quarantine hotel upon arrival).
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COP26: in Glasgow, stratospheric prices and a deficient organization