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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 24/01/2024

Introduction from Gordon Smith, Destination Development Director

The last six months have been a busy time for the South of Scotland’s tourism industry. I’ve enjoyed getting out and about seeing first hand businesses delivering quality experiences for visitors.

It’s exciting to see the new South of Scotland Responsible Tourism Strategy being developed along with key partners South of Scotland Destination Alliance, South of Scotland Enterprise, Scottish Borders Council and Dumfries and Galloway Council.

We’ve supported a south-wide consultation to create an ambitious strategy that elevates the tourism potential for the region. We’re looking forward to seeing the strategy launched in the next few weeks with the opportunity for us all to play an active part in its delivery over the next 10 years.

Cycling also continues to be a focus with the success of the UCI Cycling World Championships in August 2023, the announcement of UCI Bike Region Label and the launch of the Kirkpatrick C2C long distance cycling route.

We’ve been developing new marketing campaign activity for the South of Scotland including partnerships with South of Scotland Destination Alliance and DFDS and some new partnership activity with Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere to celebrate them being featured in National Geographic’s "Cool List" for 2024.

It was fantastic to attend the first South of Scotland Thistle Awards last October which led to six winners being announced at the national final in Glasgow in December. These awards strengthen our position as a leading destination to visit. Congratulations to our winners!

Read on for more information on our activity to support tourism and events in the South of Scotland and promote the fantastic things to see, do and enjoy across the region.

Regional marketing - promoting the South of Scotland

We partnered with DFDS in a marketing campaign to help encourage year-round travel. The new digital campaign aims to inspire potential visitors to Scotland by ferry, using DFDS Seaways routes connecting mainland Europe to the UK. 

Our regional team worked on an 'upweight' project targeting the German market which encouraged visitors to choose the South of Scotland for their break. 

The campaign was live in selected regions of Germany on Facebook and Instagram, running from 19 October until 16 November 2023. Throughout the messaging of the campaign we promoted the DFDS ferry from Amsterdam to Newcastle as a travel provider, making the connection between taking your car or camper on the ferry then making the short journey up to the south of Scotland.

Find out more about the campaign

Screenshots from marketing campaign

Examples of social posts from the campaign

The South on social

3.8 million reach

Number of times South of Scotland content reached people on social media


Reactions, likes, comments, shares and saves of South of Scotland posts


Reached. Our most reached was an Instagram image of collections featuring Gypsy Glen, Borders

Corporate Press activity

  • The Scottish Thistle Awards 2023

    As part of the Scottish Thistle Awards programme for 2023, we supported businesses shortlisted in the South of Scotland Thistle Awards. Then we revealed the winners at the inaugural regional final in October and national final in December.

    We also worked with Scottish Thistle Award winner Dalscone Farm on a story to highlight the success of their social media videos with international markets that was picked up by the Mail on Sunday.  You can read the article in the Mail On Sunday online.


  • Connect

    In September, we announced the return of our successful travel trade event – Connect. And we issued a regional media release encouraging local businesses to sign up. 

  • Working with DFDS

    In October, we issued a media release on a marketing campaign with DFDS, including joint activity with the South of Scotland Destination Alliance, that was picked up by the Scotsman. The article is available on the Scotsman online.

  • Working with regional media

    A story highlighting some of the new products and developments in the Scottish Borders to enjoy in the autumn and winter was covered in the Border Telegraph.

    Working with media in the South of Scotland, our media release on new cycling legacy routes in the South of Scotland was picked up by local press in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway.  

  • Looking back on 2023

    In November, we published a piece from Destination Development Director Gordon Smith looking back at tourism across the region in 2023 as well as key highlights for the year ahead. 

    For all press releases from our corporate press team you can visit our media centre.

Global PR

Global marketing - Scotland's UNESCO trail

Scotland’s UNESCO trail was launched in October 2021 and was designed specifically to support ambitions to showcase Scotland as a world-leading responsible tourism destination.

With dedicated funding made available by the Scottish Government, we launched a marketing campaign in October 2022 which built on the success of previous activity around the launch of the Trail.

With the activity concluded, a series of webinars took place over summer / autumn with Scottish Government, designation site representations and the UK UNESCO Commission to present the results of this activity.

We also presented to a meeting of the Nordic UNESCO delegates who were keen to learn more about the development and success of the trail. Our insights team are continuing work on an economic impact report which will be published in 2024. 

UNESCO trail

The campaign has now been completed, you can read the full news article, and we've pulled together the key highlights below.

UNESCO campaign paid marketing activity highlights


views of the campaign video through social media


visits to the Trail micro-site from social media click throughs


combined print circulation through publishing partnerships


key journalists that attended a press trip

4.5 million

combined digital reach through press trip content created


searches for Scotland through our SkyScanner partnership

Travel trade

Our Intermediary Marketing team held a travel trade workshop in the Apex Waterloo Place Hotel in Edinburgh in which South of Scotland businesses attended. These businesses are at the early stages of their travel trade readiness journey and the event was an important part of accelerating their development.

It was a new event format which was designed for minimal costs and maximum engagement.

In support of our responsible tourism strategy, businesses were selected because of their sustainable product offering and business practices, as well as representing a wide regional spread.

We've had very positive feedback from Dark Art Distillery, Laggan, Kitchen Coos & Ewes and the Trimontium Museum and look forward to working with them on their travel trade journey.

Kitchen Coos and Ewes

Kitchen Coos & Ewes

Find out more about the travel trade

The South on

Our content team organised and assisted with the creation of a guest blog on autumn wildlife in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere. This now features on

The team also worked on a national piece which features the South of Scotland. These are popular with visitors looking for inspiration on where to visit. Here are a couple of examples:

The team has also been reviewing and updating some of our key pages for the region. These are handy to share with your visitors or link to from your website. They include information on how to get to the south, where to go and where to stay. Here are a few examples:


Marketing example

Example of the blog featured on

Related links