HOTELS across Edinburgh are celebrating after a rush of late bookings turned Hogmanay into a sell-out success.
Many visitors are thought to have waited to see what the weather was likely to have in store before opting to visit the Scottish capital for the celebrations.
Hoteliers said their earlier fears the city might be losing its crown as the world`s Hogmanay capital proved unjustified.
VisitScotland estimated around half a million people came to the city over the festive period, a figure which compares favourably with previous years.
Harry Fernandes, resident manager at the Balmoral Hotel, on Princes Street, said: "The pick-up was very much last minute.
"We were fully booked over New Year, which is really good news, considering there were worries about whether Edinburgh was going to be as busy this year.
"It`s difficult to say why people left it later this year. Our brochure starts being sent out in July, but it was really December that the bookings started to pick up.
"It could be people were waiting to see what the weather would be like after last year."
He added that their Gala Ball and restaurant had also been fully booked on December 31.
Colin Brand, duty manager at the Macdonald Holyrood Hotel, said they had also seen more late bookings than usual this year.
He said: "We found we filled up very quickly in the middle of November, but we had ten or 15 rooms that hung around for a while. We still had four rooms left on Hogmanay, but they went during the day.
"There are still a lot of people who turn up to the city without bookings."
He said their number of guests over Christmas had increased compared with previous years.
"I think Edinburgh`s starting to get a reputation for its Christmas market," he added.
Adrienne Case, manager of the Inverleith Hotel, said: "Edinburgh`s still very popular for Hogmanay. There`s always a little bit of insecurity in the run-up to it, but this year was very successful. All the rooms were booked ten days in advance."
A spokeswoman for VisitScotland said she believed that visitor numbers were on a par with previous years.
Around half a million people came to the city last year over the festive period, doubling the population.
She said: "Hoteliers were saying sales were slow at first, but they got an upsurge in the last few days with late bookings.
"Early indications are that hoteliers and guesthouse owners have had a busy few days, with many reporting an increase in sales in the run-up to Hogmanay itself."
Graham Bell, spokesman for the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, said: "These results are excellent news. Businesses certainly had to work a bit harder this year, but that`s no bad thing.
"There was concern earlier in the year that Hogmanay would be a washout, and everybody involved has done the right thing by not being over-optimistic.
"But there has been a vote of confidence in Edinburgh – although a lot later in the day than previous years."