South of Scotland Destination Alliance and Scotland Food & Drink form strategic partnership

SSDA forms strategic partnership with Scotland Food and Drink

The South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) has formed a strategic partnership with industry leadership organisation, Scotland Food & Drink, to put food and drink producers from across the region in the spotlight to boost tourism and aid the region’s recovery from the global pandemic.

The strategic partnership will launch a series of collaborative initiatives highlighting the array of produce that can be sourced from the South of Scotland, such as fish and seafood from the coasts, craft drinks from distillers and brewers, beef, lamb and venison from the fields, cheese, milk, ice cream, butter, and more, all made locally by dedicated and passionate producers.

Food and drink key for holidaymakers

The South of Scotland Destination Alliance and Scotland Food & Drink are teaming up after recent research carried out by the SSDA which revealed that food and drink is a leading factor for holidaymakers when it comes to choosing a destination and is a significant area of interest for a key target market of affluent “metropolitan adventurers”.

The new strategic partnership is part of the SSDA’s long-term goal to cement the South as a world-class holiday destination, with its combination of breathtaking scenery, outdoor activities, wildlife watching, relaxation and food and drink experiences.

Joint marketing initiatives

The partnership will see some major joint marketing initiatives taking place highlighting local produce. The first joint event will be a food and drink workshop at the SSDA’s inaugural annual conference which is being held in Dumfries on March 15. The workshop will feature local producers and explore questions such as how and why to use more local food and drink within tourism businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Alastair Scoular will talk at the Scotland Food & Drink workshop at the SSDA conference in March.

Alastair Scoular (right) will be speaking at the SSDA conference on 15 March about the founding of Five Kingdoms Brewery.

The workshop will be hosted by Joe Hind, Scotland Food & Drink Business Development Manager – South of Scotland and feature talks from guest speakers Beth Webb the head chef and owner of the Plough Inn in Wigtown and Alastair Scoular from Five Kingdoms Brewery on the Isle of Whithorn. Producers from the Borders will also be in attendance.

Webb, who trained to be a chef at Dumfries and Galloway College, opened the Plough Inn in September last year. The restaurant and wine bar celebrates the seasonal flavours of Galloway and champions local and sustainable produce.  Scoular will talk about his experience as a brewer and producer and the value to his business but also tourism more generally when offering a quality local food and drink experience to visitors.

Beth Webb guest speaker at Scotland Food & Drink workshop at SSDA conference in March.

Beth Webb, head chef and owner of the Plough Inn at Wigtown

In November, there will be large scale expo/showcase events in both the Borders and Dumfries & Galloway bringing together food and drink producers with tourism businesses.

Ross McAuley CEO of SSDA, said: “We know from our recent research that holidaymakers are actively seeking quality food and drink and interesting dining experiences as part of their break, and the South of Scotland has a wealth of options to offer them.

“Our partnership with Scotland Food & Drink will help highlight the growing range of natural produce found across Dumfries & Galloway and the Scottish Borders – from farm to fork. By placing food and drink firmly in the centre of holidaymakers’ minds, we are supporting the region’s post-pandemic recovery and building a stronger future.”

Raise region’s food and drink profile

Joe Hind, Business Development Manager in the South of Scotland for Scotland Food & Drink said: “Our partnership with the South of Scotland Destination Alliance will raise the profile of the area’s amazing food and drink providers and producers, and forge new networks within the tourism and hospitality sectors. We will also work closely with South of Scotland Enterprise and other agencies to ensure there is true collaboration to provide what this region needs to expand their food and drink offer effectively.

“Some of the best food and drink in Scotland, if not the world, can be found across the fertile lands and clean waters of the South of Scotland. The area’s history and landscape are full of authentic food and drink made with care, dedication, time and skill and we believe locals and visitors alike deserve to enjoy the great, local produce from the South.”

The SSDA was launched in May 2020 and its goals is to transform the South of Scotland into a year-round world class destination, helping the region to recover from the impact of the pandemic, growing tourism spend in the region to £1bn by 2030 and creating an additional 6,500 jobs.

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