Borderland tourism initiative has stalled

This month's cross-border walking festival at Coldstream was a success.
This month's cross-border walking festival at Coldstream was a success.

Promotion of cross-border tourism needs to be improved despite local support for a project set up to do just that.

The Borderlands initiative was created by Scottish Borders Council and its opposite numbers in Dumfries and Galloway, Cumbria and Northumberland, and it was launched by the Scottish Government in 2013.

However, despite widespread support being expressed, since then little has happened.

Two summit meetings have been held, but so far no strategy or development plan has been agreed.

Borders MSP John Lamont is urging the Scottish Government to do more to promote cross-border tourism and the Scottish Borders as a tourist destination, and Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop agreed to raise it at future meetings with her counterparts across the UK.

Mr Lamont said: “The Scottish Borders is a fantastic place to visit, and there is huge potential to promote it and the wider region in a better way.

“The Borderlands initiative had cross-party and cross-border support, and it seems a shame that this work seems to have stalled recently.

“The Scotland Office is keen to get this initiative moving, and I’m glad the cabinet secretary has also agreed to do more to promote cross-border co-operation on tourism.

“Tourism is an incredibly important industry in the Borders, providing a huge boost to our local economy. I think we could be getting a bigger slice of the £5bn spent each year by tourists in Scotland.”