At a recent meeting of the Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership strong support was expressed both for the new Borders Railway and for the potential for the tourism industry to capitalise on the many opportunities that will be available to bring new visitors to the region.
Paula McDonald and Catherine Maxwell Stuart reported back on their recent fact finding visit to the Carlisle/Appleby railway where a local partnership based at Appleby station were now bringing in an additional 20,000 visitors through group bookings and on chartered steam trains. However, it was agreed that there was still work to be done to lobby Ministers to invest in a longer platform at Tweedbank to ensure that charter trains could be accommodated.
Catherine Maxwell Stuart, Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership chair, commented: “The tourism industry in the Borders must start to plan now for the coming of the railway to ensure transport links are in place when visitors reach Galashiels or Tweedbank and to ensure that visitors have access to all the attractions in the area.”
The Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership also welcomed five new sector representatives; Kara ter Morche for visitor attractions, Paul McGreal, activities, Alan Bailey, caravan and camping sector, Carol Houghton for self catering and Kate Innes for the hotel sector. In addition, councillors Stuart Bell and Nicholas Watson are the new Scottish Borders Council representatives on the Partnership.