Partners unite for drive to boost South of Scotland Visitor Economy and support thriving communities

Sustainable economic growth and community prosperity are the key objectives of ongoing work by a group of major organisations to co-develop a new responsible tourism strategy for the south of Scotland in collaboration with local stakeholders, according to a key announcement today.

David Hope-Jones OBE, new-in-post Chief Executive of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) shared the latest information on the joint strategy as he welcomed guests to the SSDA’s sold-out second annual conference, held this year at Peebles Hydro.

Input from all in 2023

Through 2023, businesses, organisations, community groups and individuals will be able to feed into the development of the new responsible tourism strategy for the south of Scotland, which brings together VisitScotland, South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), Scottish Borders Council, Dumfries & Galloway Council and the SSDA.

Rob Dickson, VisitScotland Director of Industry and Destination Development said: “The development of a responsible tourism strategy and action plan for the South of Scotland supports our ambitions for Scotland to be a world leader in 21st century tourism.

“We are working with our industry and visitors to ensure we are taking collaborative action to protect Scotland’s world-famous natural assets and renowned tourism offering, with a focus on responsible tourism for a sustainable future.

“We would encourage the tourism and events industry in the South of Scotland to get involved in the development of this strategy and work together to make Scotland a better place for people to live and visit.”

Action plan by December

David Hope-Jones OBE, SSDA Chief Executive, said: “For me, 2023 is all about partnership and collaboration, as all the key agencies come together to agree an exciting and ambitious new responsible tourism strategy and action place for the South of Scotland. A key priority for me is ensuring every single business, organisation, community group and individual that wants to is able to feed into this new strategy. It needs to be owned by all and it needs to deliver real, sustainable economic impact.

“Our work will continue throughout the year and we aim to publish our strategy and accompanying action plan, agreed by all parties, by the end of December 2023.

Jane Morrison-Ross, Chief Executive of SOSE, said: “Partnership working is absolutely crucial if the South of Scotland is to achieve our collective goal of becoming a green, fair and flourishing region, which people want to come to and visit.

“The development of a new responsible tourism strategy is an opportunity to achieving this collective aim, and SOSE is fully committed to playing our part in helping tourism in the South fully achieve its potential.”

Strength in partnerships

Marc Crothall, CEO of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said: “The development and launch of Scotland’s tourism strategy, Outlook 2030 is a shining example of successful collaboration across Scotland’s tourism businesses, public agencies and communities which I’m delighted to see has inspired the creation of a new model of partnerships throughout various sectors and destinations.

“Our tourism strategy vision is for Scotland to be the world leader in 21st century tourism and we can only achieve this shared ambition tourism through our strength in partnerships, as demonstrated by the development of the SSDA tourism strategy.”

Councillor Euan Jardine, Leader of Scottish Borders Council, said: “This new strategy is another fantastic example of the Team South approach in action, and which has worked so well across a whole range of projects, programmes and strategies over recent years.

“The input of the industry and our communities will be crucial to shaping the strategy, to ensuring it reflects the true vision for tourism across the South of Scotland and helps to guide and inform future development of the sector here in the South.

“With this new strategy, the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, the launch of a new coast to coast route and much more, I really believe that 2023 is the start of something quite special for us all in the South of Scotland.”

Councillor Ian Blake, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee said: “The new responsible tourism strategy for the south of Scotland that is being developed is an important step in the collaborative approach to developing and promoting tourism across the South of Scotland.”

Councillor Jackie McCamon, Vice-Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Communities Committee said: “There are so many positive events and developments happening across the South of Scotland. This new strategy will help partners maximise on the assets that we have, while supporting the economic growth across our area.”

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