REPRESENTATIVES of over 80 businesses from all over the Scottish Borders gathered in Galashiels for the region’s annual VisitScotland conference.
The VisitScotland Borders Conference took place at The Interchange in Galashiels on Wednesday 9th November and aimed to inspire and encourage local industry to continue to capitalise on the business growth opportunities as a result of the Borders Railway.
The 30-mile Borders Railway stretching from Edinburgh Waverley to Tweedbank has proved a phenomenal success with more than one million passengers travelling on the route in the first year and businesses in the Borders, Midlothian and Edinburgh experiencing an increase in visitor numbers.
The event was opened by Chairman of VisitScotland Lord Thurso who praised the “beauty” of the area in his opening speech and urged delegates to work together to make the most of the “fantastic tourism asset” that is the new railway.
Lord Thurso said: “Our aim at VisitScotland is to see the visitor economy grow but to make sure that this growth is spread across all regions of Scotland.
“The Borders Railway has had a massive impact on the local economy and has encouraged people to come and visit this part of the country. The railway links the Borders to the capital city and for visitors to Edinburgh, the railway is the perfect way to experience the beauty of the region.
“The opening of the 30 mile route between Edinburgh and Tweedbank has provided a huge boost for the local area and Scottish tourism as a whole, increasing visitor numbers, creating jobs and sustaining communities.
“I was delighted to attend This event brought local businesses together to ensure that we work together to make the most of the continuing opportunities presented by the Borders Railway.”
Delegates also heard from VisitScotland’s Head of Customer Experience, Vicki Miller, who offered an insight into the changing habits of consumers and the importance of digital technology. Born in the Borders owner John Henderson spoke about his experiences of establishing a brewing company in the region and working with other industries to develop a food and drink network.
VisitScotland Regional Director, Doug Wilson, added: “We were delighted to welcome so many representatives from tourism and local businesses to our conference this year. We are now one year on from the opening of the Borders Railway and we want to support those working in the tourism sector to continue to capitalise on the important opportunities that exist in the Scottish Borders today.”
Councillor Stuart Bell, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Economic Development, said: “The Council is committed to maximising the economic benefit of the Borders Railway across the region, and bringing together businesses for this type of event is a fantastic way to hear about the latest developments, hear what others have done to take advantage of the visitors using the railway and network.”
The annual industry conference is the most anticipated event in the Scottish Borders tourism calendar and always generates a great level of interest from tourism and hospitality businesses the length and breadth of the region.
Attendees represented all areas of the tourism and hospitality sectors, ranging from accommodation providers and tour operators, to food and drink businesses, visitor attractions and events’ organisers.
For more information on the Borders Railway, visit:
Notes to Editors
- Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
- VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
- The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
- This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
- Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
- Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
- Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
- Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
- Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
- Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
- Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
- VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
- The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
- Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
- The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit www.gov.scot or follow @scotgovESIF
- For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/
- Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
- For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
- For information about business events in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com
2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design
- 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
- The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design started on 1 January 2016 and will end on 31 December 2016.It will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
- Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
- The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
- The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
- The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
- Join the conversation at #IAD2016