South Of Scotland Tourism Businesses Urged To Help Steer Region’s Destination Development Plans

The South of Scotland Destination Alliance’s new Operational Plan takes a locally-led, bottom-up approach, putting businesses in the driving seat

Harnessing local knowledge and expertise through a ‘bottom-up’ approach led by local businesses is a key focus of the newly published one-year Operational Plan released by the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA).

In addition to publishing the 12-month Operational Plan on their website, the SSDA is launching two series of meetings, accessible to all, to progress the Regional Responsible Tourism Strategy, alongside partners South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), Scottish Borders Council, Dumfries & Galloway Council and VisitScotland and to help design the South of Scotland’s locally-led Destination Development Plan.

The Operational Plan includes 16 key projects for the year ahead, directly informed by feedback from tourism businesses across the South of Scotland on what would be most beneficial for their businesses.

It sets out how, over the next 12 months, the SSDA will:

  • Attract more and better-spending visitors to the region
  • Create a coordinated, community of businesses across our region, working together for greater collective impact
  • Support businesses to benefit from key strategic opportunities upcoming
  • Help progress the South of Scotland’s journey to become a quality, year-round destination
  • Bring together all relevant organisations across the public and private sector, to unite behind one single responsible tourism strategy which will underpin all our work
  • Deliver a bottom-up, locally-led Destination Development Plan designed by and owned by businesses themselves.

David Hope-Jones OBE, South of Scotland Destination Alliance, said: “At its core, the SSDA is a community of businesses, all with unique identities and stories which each contribute something different to the fantastic patchwork quilt that is the South of Scotland.

“In drafting our new Operational Plan, we listened to the pressures and priorities, and the ideas and insights, of businesses and communities engaged in our tourism and hospitality sectors. We and our partners are now looking forward to taking to the road to develop a genuinely locally-led approach to developing the south of Scotland as a world-class destination.

“By thinking strategically and acting collaboratively we can transform the South of Scotland’s visitor economy.”


Gordon Smith, VisitScotland Destination Development Director, said: “It is vital for communities and businesses to be consulted on tourism plans for their local area. They are on the frontline and can provide a critical input to help influence the future direction of tourism across the region.

“The public meetings being coordinated by SSDA provide a great opportunity for communities and businesses to share their ambition for tourism and help shape the development of the emerging South of Scotland Responsible Tourism Strategy. Partnership and collaboration are at the heart of Scottish tourism and working together to find ways to position the South of Scotland as a unique and special holiday choice is essential.”


From next month, the SSDA is holding a series of fourteen public meetings across the South of Scotland to discuss and shape the locally-led Destination Development Plan, kicking off at The Great Tapestry of Scotland in Galashiels on 9 August.

Simultaneously, a series of thematic/sectoral digital sessions will help the SSDA and its partners to progress the Regional Responsible Tourism Strategy.

Full details of both series available at

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