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Published on : Friday, July 8, 2016
Building on the success of the 2015 Chief Executive Listening Tour, Mr Roughead spoke directly to emerging talent in the industry as part of his visit to the Scottish Borders, which also included a tour of local visitor attractions and businesses capitalising on the region’s unique heritage, natural environment and people.
The group of tourism representatives met at The Interchange in Galashiels to discuss the opportunities and challenges being faced in the region at the present time. Topics for discussion ranged from the Borders Railway to encouraging tourism as a career choice and from digital marketing to working together to promote the region.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:
“Tourism is at the heart of economic success in the Scottish Borders –it creates jobs and sustains communities in every corner of the Scottish Borders all year round. The aim of today’s visit to the region is to meet with industry leaders to discuss how we can continue to capitalise on the wealth of opportunities in the region and maximise the visitor economy.
“The businesses I have visited today are showcasing the best of what the region has to offer – from its unique heritage to its outstanding natural larder. What has struck me about these businesses is their authenticity – whether it is making use of the wonderful produce the region has to offer, or celebrating the rich history and traditions.
“The re-establishment of the railway line from Edinburgh through Midlothian to the Scottish Borders demonstrates an enormous tourism investment in southeast Scotland. The lasting connections that we have made today will help us to forge new partnerships in the area to continue to maximise the visitor economy and build on the successful development of tourism in the Scottish Borders.”
Following a Question and Answer session, Mr Roughead boarded a Rabbies bus from Galashiels train station to visit the 16th-century Aikwood Tower near Selkirk, owned by Rory and Vicki Steel, who renovated the former family home to offer luxury five-star boutique accommodation, and wedding and event venue. Next stop on the tour was the Tempest Brewery in Tweedbank, owned by Annika and Gavin Meiklejohn, who established the brewery in 2010 and recently expanded to new premises at Tweedbank. Tempest Brewery was recently named Scotland’s brewery of the year at the British Institute of Innkeeping Awards for Scotland.
Annika Meiklejohn, Director of Tempest Brewery, said: “It was a pleasure to welcome the Chief Executive of VisitScotland to Tempest Brewery on his tour of the Borders. We are pleased to see the recognition for the role that craft beer production now plays in Scottish tourism.”
Vicki Steel, owner of Aikwood Tower, said: “We’re delighted that Aikwood Tower was a part of this year’s Listening Tour. Over the past five years, we have worked hard to raise the profile of the Scottish Borders amongst all of our UK and international guests and so this was a fantastic opportunity to share our learnings and plans with the VisitScotland team.”
The meetings in the Scottish Borders were the third in a series of tours taking place throughout Scotland this year.