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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 01/08/2022

7Stanes bikers

Find out about our recent activity to support recovery for the south of Scotland. From industry support to new campaigns and PR activity, read on for the latest in south of Scotland tourism updates.

Hear from your Interim Regional Director, Annique Armstrong

Annique with cyclist winner

Interim Regional Director Annique Armstrong at the Tour of Britain

After what has been an incredibly challenging time for the industry, it is fantastic to welcome the return of domestic and international visitors to the South of Scotland. Whilst we haven’t returned to levels experienced prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is encouraging to see interest build once again.

Local marketing campaigns, supported through the Destination and Sector Marketing fund, are helping to reach new audiences within the domestic market. We remain focused  on rebuilding international demand – read more about our own marketing activity within this update.

We know that significant challenges remain for the tourism industry, not least staffing and rising costs. However, on a recent visit to the Borders I was heartened to hear about a sense of optimism returning to the industry, while learning more about major investments in the area and seeing some great examples of tourism businesses collaborating.

We’re working hand in hand with partners and our tourism and events industry to rebuild this vital part of Scotland’s economy and provide the right support to lead the recovery. The tourism and events industry is bouncing back, thanks in no small part, to the hard work of individuals and teams.

It has also been fantastic to welcome the return of in-person events. I had the pleasure of attending the Tour Series in Stranraer earlier this summer. There is nothing quite like the buzz of a live event and there are many more to come for the region as it looks forward to hosting major cycling events this year and next as we count down to the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.

We can look forward to many more events taking place across the region this summer, many supported by the Year of Stories 2022 and EventScotland National funding programme, including ScottFest22 in August and Wigtown Book Festival in September.

If there's any way we can help or support you, please get in touch with your regional team and we'd be happy to help.

Quality's assured

Nithbank

Our Five Star (5*) Gold Quality Assurance award recognises serviced accommodation businesses which achieve the highest levels of excellence.

Nithbank Country Estate in Thornhill, has achieved our Five Star Gold B&B accreditation, the highest possible award in our Quality Assurance grading scheme. This is the first for an accommodation provider in Dumfries & Galloway.

Read the full story on Nithbank's success. 

The Year of Stories 2022

This year, Scotland is celebrating Scotland's Year of Stories. This themed year spotlights, celebrates and promotes the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland.

From icons of literature to local tales, the year aims to encourage locals and visitors to experience a diversity of voices, take part in events and explore the places, people and cultures connected to all forms of our stories, past and present. 

There's lots of information available on our website, VisitScotland.org, to help you make the most of Scotland's Year of Stories 2022. Take a look at our promotional film, industry toolkit, and the events which are taking place across the year.

Find out more about our Year of Stories events held in the South

  • In April, Community Stories Fund event A Yarn Worth Spinning at the Great Tapestry of Scotland was promoted on Radio Borders and in an Instagram takeover with The List. 
  • The Borders Book Festival was promoted on Radio Borders in June as part of the Year of Stories Bauer campaign and the event also featured in partnership activity with The List, including a social post, native article and Solus newsletters in May and June. Songs From the Last Page was also highlighted in both pieces of content. 
  • Community Stories event Up The Middle Road: Crichton Stories Of Recovery And Resilience featured in a June native article and Solus newsletter as part of partnership activity with The List. 
  • In June and July, Of Scotland’s Soils and Souls at Dawyck Botanic Garden featured on Clyde 1, Forth 1, Radio Borders and in a Solus newsletter in partnership with The List. 
     

Dawyck Gardens

Consumer Marketing and PR

Our marketing teams play a key role in keeping Scotland top of mind with potential visitors of the future. One way they achieve this is through sharing a wealth of inspiration and knowledge through the blogs on our consumer site, VisitScotland.com
With a wide range of topics and locations covered, these are a great source of inspiration for future visitors. Why not share these blogs including activity for the south of Scotland across your own channels?

Here’s a few examples of the latest blog content featuring the south of Scotland:
 

Mary Queen of Scots Blog article

Solway tours blog post

Find out more about our marketing strategy as we operate in a new tourism landscape. 

Press update

It has been a busy quarter for our corporate press team in the south of Scotland. Regional press activity includes supporting the launch of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance’s new curiosity starts here campaign, which introduced T-AM the robot, as well as The Trimontium Museum’s 5-Star Quality Assurance award. 

  Some highlights include:

Jedburgh icentre

DFDS Seaways Marketing campaign

DFDS campaign

We launched a new campaign as part of our new marketing partnership with DFDS Seaways. The digital campaign which features Smailholm Tower and Mull of Galloway also features iconic images of highland cows to inspire potential visitors to travel to Scotland by ferry using the DFDS Seaways Amsterdam to Newcastle route.

Read the full story for more information.

 

Marketing update

Our marketing teams continue to promote the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway helping Scottish tourism recover as quickly as possible, in a responsible way.

Key highlights include working with UNBOXED events, a celebration of creativity across the UK with magical installations, free and family-friendly events and immersive digital experiences. As part of UNBOXED StoryTrails took place in Dumfries on 12-13 July, which created an opportunity for locals and visitors to  explore their own town in completely new ways, using AR and VR technologies, and immersive cinema.

 

Unboxed logo

Glentress in the Tweed Valley was announced as the official venue for the Mountain Bike Cross-country and Cross-country Marathon events in August 2023. This will be the first time they have hosted an event of this scale. 

Glentress Forest, which is owned and managed by Forestry and Land Scotland, is the ninth location across Scotland to be confirmed as part of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships. This event will see 13 existing UCI World Championships combined for the first time to create one mega event.

VisitScotland and EventScotland are working closely with the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships. The Championships are expected to have more than one million in-person spectators, and a television audience of around one billion people.
 

UCI banner

Scotland's UNESCO Trail marketing continues to highlight Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere with further activity planned this year.

And whilst promoting the Year of Stories 2022, our marketing team ensured the south was covered in the Guardian with a piece by children's author Amanda Mitchell. With a family focus, Mitchell encouraged visits to the likes of Moat Brae, Wigtown Book Festival and Abbotsford House.

South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) robot

A specially designed roving robot called TA-M has been exploring the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway as part of a mission to encourage more holidaymakers to visit the beautiful, but relatively unknown, South of Scotland.

A roving robot is spearheading a new ‘Curiosity Starts Here’ marketing campaign launched by the South of Scotland Destination Alliance. The campaign will run across out-of-home adverts, radio slots and social media. 

We featured this story in our news section where you can find out more.

Watch T-AM in action...

SOSE recruitment support announced

Employers across the south of Scotland who require assistance with recruiting talent are being encouraged to sign up to a summer support service which is due to launched this month (July 2022).

The three month service will run until September 2022, offering one to one support, webinars, and online tools for businesses seeking new and best practice approaches to help fill vacancies.

Read the full story and find out how to make the most of the opportunity.

What's new in the south?

Bainloch Deer Farm

Bainloch Deer Farm, with three thousand acres of park, is open for business providing wonderful opportunity for visitors to see Japanese sika, wild roe deer and Britain’s largest land mammal, the majestic red deer. Visit their brand new Visitor Centre café from 10am to 4pm daily.

Moat Brae – MinaLima Exhibition

The team behind Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies has developed a new exhibition at Moat Brae bringing to life some of the best-loved classic children’s literature tales in Enchanted Journeys: Adventures in Storytelling.

Gretna Green Blacksmiths refurbishment open

Gretna Green’s iconic blacksmith’s shop has been transformed following a £1.5 million investment, and is now an immersive visitor experience. 

Moffat Distillery 

Moffat Distillery is well underway and is now taking bookings for their first whisky tasting in August.

Netherurd Garden House

Netherurd Garden House, Blyth Bridge have opened 18 newly renovated apartments set within their walled garden. Working with Euan's Guide, they have accessible interconnecting apartments which are now available to book. 

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