Adapting to changes in tourism sector key for Council and partners

Borders Railway

Published: Thursday, 12th October 2017

We recognise that tourism is vital to the economy of the region, with around 4,000 people employed directly in the sector and many more people benefiting from its contribution to the local economy.

However, the changing nature of the tourism sector is affecting the way in which services are delivered. VisitScotland has today announced a new strategy for the provision of tourist information, as a direct response to the changes to the way in which visitors want to access this information.

Partnership working vital to increasing economic impact

Tourism had an economic impact of £194million in the Scottish Borders last year, and the Council is committed to working with the Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership and Midlothian and Borders Tourism Action Group (MBTAG), as well as VisitScotland and other partners to maximise the impact of tourism in the local economy and help it develop further.

Councillor Mark Rowley, Executive Member for Business and Economic Development

“The Council recognises the huge value of tourism to the Scottish Borders and is committed to doing all it can to see this vital sector thrive right across the area.

“It is important that the Council and other partners, such as VisitScotland, actively engage with the private sector on tourism, and both the Tourism Partnership and MBTAG are excellent channels for this.

“By working hand in hand with the private sector we can ensure that businesses are able to take advantage of opportunities at an early stage and work collaboratively with them on a range of matters.

“The new tourist information strategy from VisitScotland is an excellent example of how this type of partnership can work and which will enhance the experience of visitors to the area and have a positive knock-on impact to those businesses and organisations designated Information Partners.

“While the private sector has a critical role in the tourism sector, from visitor attractions to local businesses and accommodation providers, the public sector is vital in providing support wherever it can, be that through marketing the Scottish Borders as a whole, or through financial support.

“The Council has an ambitious Events Strategy and backs that up with significant funding to allow local events to establish themselves and grow. An excellent example of that is the Borders Book Festival, which has received Council support over a number of years and has grown to become a major event in the calendar and attracts visitors from across Scotland and the UK, delivering a significant economic impact.”

Increasing role of digital in tourist information

The Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership (SBTP) is the umbrella association for all tourism businesses in the area. It is made up of mainly private sector companies working with VisitScotland, the Council, Forest Enterprise Scotland and Business Gateway.

Chair of SBTP, Will Haegeland

“The tourism spend in the Scottish Borders is a core part of the area’s economy and sustains thousands of jobs, directly and indirectly, and we all have a role in ensuring its ongoing success and growth.

“Everyone in the sector understands that times are changing and that digital technology plays an increasing role in the choices that visitors make, whether that is when they are deciding what region to visit initially or, once they are there, what attractions to visit or restaurants to eat at.

“By businesses working together, and in close partnership with the Council and VisitScotland and other key organisations, we can continue to develop the tourism offering here in the Scottish Borders and encourage even more visitors to come to our region, stay, explore, shop and eat and drink here.”