Scenery is Borders’ biggest tourist attraction, survey reveals

Scenery such as Scott's View near Melrose, pictured here by Phil Wilkinson, is the Borders' biggest tourist attraction, according to a new poll.
Scenery such as Scott's View near Melrose, pictured here by Phil Wilkinson, is the Borders' biggest tourist attraction, according to a new poll.

Its stunning scenery is the Borders’ biggest draw for tourists, according to Visit-
Scotland’s largest-ever survey of visitors to the region.

History and culture were another big attraction, being cited by almost half of those quizzed as one of their main reasons for coming here.

The national tourism organisation interviewed 505 visitors to the Borders last summer and the summer before, with 127 of those polled answering specific questions about their trip in a follow-up survey online.

The Borders’ scenery was named by just over two-thirds of those polled as being the primary motivation for their visits.

Another big attraction is the range of activities available, with 32% of those asked giving that as the reason for their visits, more than double the national average of 14%.

The Borders attracts almost three times the national average number of visitors fulfilling a long-held ambition by exploring the region – 42%, as opposed to the nationwide figure of 15% – and just over a third said they were keen to return after enjoying previous visits.

Visitors to the Borders gave positive ratings of their holidays, with 94% scoring them at seven out of 10 or higher, and 61% gave the highest ratings of nine or 10 out of 10.

Holidaymakers also said they would be likely to recommend the region to friends or family, with 93% scoring their chances of doing so at seven out of 10 or higher.

Sightseeing by car, coach or on foot was the most popular activity, with 72% of respondents citing that as a reason to visit here.

In second place, on 57%, is visiting a historic house, stately home or castle, and checking out a cathedral, church, abbey or other religious building isn’t far behind that, on 53%.

Manuela Calchini, Visit-Scotland’s regional partnerships director for the south of Scotland, said: “With nearly 12,000 visitors all over the country interviewed, this is the biggest visitor survey we have ever produced.

“I am delighted, but not surprised, to see that so many people rate their trips to the Scottish Borders so highly.

“As well as being attracted by the stunning scenery on offer, there are so many things to do, from world-class mountain bike trails to fishing on the famous River Tweed.

“There really is something for everyone in the Scottish Borders.”

“Finding out what drives people to enjoy a holiday in the region provides the tourism industry with valuable insight into the make-up of our visitors and ensures we continue to provide the best customer experience.”

According to another survey, the Borders welcomed 328,000 overnight visitors in 2015, generating £76m for its economy.

Some 12% of visitors here come from abroad, with the top overseas markets being France, the Netherlands, Germany, the US and Australia.