Tourism body is ‘missing out’ area

A KELSO councillor has claimed Scotland’s national tourism body is ignoring the Borders.

Councillor Simon Mountford’s comments came at a meeting of Scottish Borders Council last week, when members discussed a response to VisitScotland’s consultation on a draft tourism development plan.

Mr Mountford said: “Most people involved in tourism in the Borders feel let down by VisitScotland.

“The Borders is just not promoted. In the TV ads they focus on the Highlands and Edinburgh. The Borders is missed out and we’ve got so much to offer.”

He added: “We must encourage VisitScotland to do much more, I believe, to promote the cultural and historical experiences here.”

He was backed by Councillor David Paterson, who added: “We’re getting treated as a poor neighbour again.”

The draft plan aims to provide a development strategy which will enable future investment to be prioritised in the infrastructure and facilities needed to increase the country’s visitor economy.

Councillor Stuart Bell admitted that he was concerned that VisitScotland had not consulted local authorities about what was to be included in the draft plan before putting it out for a six-week consultation period.

Members agreed for the response, drafted by chief executive Tracey Logan and director of environment and infrastructure Rob Dickson, to be submitted to VisitScotland.

In the response, the pair urged VisitScotland to include greater reference to areas of the Scottish Borders in the development plan.

This included the suggestion that resort-type developments could be created in the Tweed Valley Forest Park.