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Article published 28/04/2023

Introducing our new Regional Director, Gordon Smith

Welcome to my first regional update since I took up the role of Destination Development Director for the South of Scotland. I look forward, in this role, to working with our partners to help support the ongoing recovery of tourism and events in the South of Scotland, a valuable part of our economy.

This regional update looks back at our key activity for the first quarter of 2023 between January and March. There are many challenges still facing our industry but at the start of our traditional tourism season in Scotland, we want to remind those in tourism and events of how far we have come, and the opportunities that lie ahead.

It was fantastic to be able to celebrate the hard work, passion and commitment within tourism and events at the National Final of the Scottish Thistle Awards in February. And with the countdown to the UCI Cycling World Championships taking place this summer firmly on, we launched a cycling industry toolkit to help support businesses to make the most of the opportunity and further develop Scottish cycling tourism.

Scottish Tourism Month in March presented the opportunity to celebrate our achievements and for the industry to come together at events throughout the region to share learnings, best practice and ideas for future collaboration.

Here’s a round up of some of our activity in the South of Scotland in recent months. 

Gordon Smith





















Corporate Press activity

South of Scotland conference

Our Corporate Press Manager, Amelia Whittaker, worked with the SSDA to deliver press activity and coverage of the SSDA conference. Pictured: Speakers at the event at Peebles Hydro.


Our corporate PR team work closely with Scottish and UK media to raise awareness of our work to promote the South of Scotland to visitors, and how we offer support for the industry. Some of the most recent highlights include:

Recent blogs and content on

New regional blogs

Blogs are a way to reach potential visitors through targeted written content. They are one way in which we can really focus on specific topics that we know, from our research, that our visitors are searching for, or interested in.

And we can use this type of content to showcase all that the tourism industry offers from Eyemouth to Stranraer – all year round.

Read and share our blogs, which are available on Latest content featuring the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway includes:

Regional Marketing on

A new version of launched in the week of 13 February with brand new regional and destination pages, here are a few examples of the new regional content created:

Borders textile houseBorders Textile Tower house, a 4 star visitor attraction

Here is a round up of our Global PR activity covering the South of Scotland

UCI World Cycling Championships 2023

The UCI Cycling World Championships 2023 come to Glasgow and venues across Scotland in August this year. The South of Scotland is a host region for the event and we're perfectly geared up for this flagship event!

It'll be the single biggest cycling event in history, bringing together for the first time 13 existing UCI World Championships into one mega event. Partners and tourism businesses are encouraged to help promote both the event as well as celebrate the #PowerOfTheBike

We’ve developed a digital toolkit which has been created to help you maximise the opportunity of cycling. We've done this by creating a free range of assets and ready-to-use content.

As host regions for the Championships, the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway have dedicated region pages on the UCI Cycling World Championships website.  This is a helpful resource for visitors whether they're spectators or taking part.

Make sure to share this on your channels for your visitors this summer:

Update from our iCentres

Our iCentres are located in Jedburgh next to the magnificent Jedburgh Abbey and at White Sands, Dumfries. There we provide face-to-face information provision and inspiration to visitors.

Find out more about what they offer, opening times and location at our dedicated pages:

We caught up with the team in Jedburgh to find out what they’ve been working on so far in 2023.

Update from Jedburgh iCentre

Jedburgh icentre

Our Jedburgh iCentre

In January we were able to get involved in the firebreak sessions arranged internally to help with learning and development.

Our window display has been linked with Burns Night and the local Jethart Hand Ba game; this display received a lot of interest. We had a visit from some local nursery children who were doing a project on local history. Amongst other visitors were an Argentinian school group as well as the welcome return of campervans and coaches in larger numbers.

The iCentre has received new retail suppliers, including shop local items from Eden Water Soap and fair-trade suppliers Pachamama as well as new Jedburgh items. We also got more ice cream from Giacopazzi's of Eyemouth and look forward to the return of warmer weather.

In the last few weeks, we have been able to visit local attractions including Schloss Roxburghe, Lochcarron of Scotland, Beirhope Alpacas as well as join the SSDA Fam trip. We have also signed up for and taken part in the spring litter pick. The iCentre has undergone refurbishment with a new display screen and lightboxes to welcome visitors.

Chris MacDougall, Visitor Services Advisor at Jedburgh iCentre

Scottish Thistle Awards Final

Businesses and individuals working within the tourism and events industry received recognition at Scotland’s premier tourism and events awards in January.

A total of 17 businesses and individuals were honoured at the Scottish Thistle Awards National Final, the highest accolade in the Scottish hospitality, tourism and events sector.

For 2023, the South of Scotland will have its own dedicated regional tourism awards. In previous years, tourism and events businesses in Dumfries and Galloway were recognised as part of the west region which also covered Glasgow and Ayrshire, while Scottish Borders businesses have been celebrated as part of the Lothian and Borders category, which includes Edinburgh.

By why enter the awards? 


Seven reasons why you should enter

Thistle Award final
Scottish Thistle Award finalists 

Regional marketing - Days out campaign

Find out more about how we’re working to develop the South of Scotland’s outstanding reputation in the global market. Here's the latest campaign covering Dumfries & Galloway:


South FB screenshots

Dumfries & Galloway Great Days Out campaign

  • We allocated £1812 from a regional budget which will focus on attractions in Dumfries & Galloway.
  • Activity ran on Facebook from 2 – 22 March and targeted couples aged 45 - 65+. This drove potential visitors to the Great Days Out landing page.
  • The campaign delivered good results, with 1200 site landings compared to the forecasted 929, at a cost efficient cost per land of £1.16. Of the three different creative activity produced, the days out carousel was the strongest performer, delivering 694 (over half) of the overall landings.

Social media stats - January to April

over 1.3 million

No of times specific South content reached people in their social channels across the last 3 months


reactions, likes, comments, shares and saves on South of Scotland posts in the last three months.

Over 308,400 reached

by our top performing Instagram post of Scott’s View

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