Published on : Wednesday, April 12, 2017
VisitScotland Regional Director Doug Wilson is looking ahead to a season packed with exciting events and activities.
He said: “It is an exciting time for tourism in Dumfries & Galloway at the moment. Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it creates jobs and sustains communities in every corner of the region all year round and is at the heart of the Scottish economy. There are some exciting firsts for the region this year, celebrating everything from the region’s outstanding natural larder to its unique heritage and breathtaking scenery.
“The inaugural Wild Film Festival took place in Dumfries in March, celebrating the natural world through film, photography, topical discussion and music. It represented a real commitment to further enhancing our region’s tourism offering and attracting more visitors to the region which is renowned for its open spaces, dark skies and growing reputation for wildlife tourism.
“In August, the World Gold Panning Championships come to Moffat, the first time they have been held in Scotland since 1992. In September, the first ever Dark Sky Park Conference to be held in Europe will be hosted by Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere at Cally Palace in the Gatehouse of Fleet and represents a massive opportunity for the region to continue to capitalise on its dark skies tourism potential.
“As well as these new events, the region’s outstanding natural larder and famous literary links continue to be celebrated at the Kirkcudbright Food Festival and Wigtown Book Festival which are going from strength to strength. The first ever Stranraer Oyster Festival is being planned for September, which will celebrate the local produce and coastal heritage of Stranraer, including Scotland’s only wild, native oyster fishery in Loch Ryan.
2017 is the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and there are many events and taking place in Dumfries & Galloway to mark this theme. These include the Eden Festival in June and the Knockengorroch World Festival in May.
Doug said: “2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories. An exciting programme of events in Dumfries & Galloway will help encourage visitors to discover some of the hidden gems and fascinating stories that they perhaps weren’t previously aware of in the region.
“The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is also focussing on encouraging millennial Scots to connect with the Spirit of Scotland through Trad music. I would encourage people to discover the many amazing and unique Trad concerts and festivals taking place in Dumfries & Galloway this year, including the Newton Stewart & Minnigaff Traditional Music Festival in July.”
“Through VisitScotland’s Spirit of Scotland global campaign, we aim to raise the profile and reputation of the region as an outstanding place to visit, and to invest, live and work in. A new film we produced in 2016 has been viewed more than 20,000 times and shared across our industry networks. Our latest spring campaign also focussed on encouraging visitors to take a road trip and direct mail packs which highlighted the Galloway Tourist Route, 92 miles stretching from Gretna to Ayr which takes in the beauty of Galloway Forest Park, landed on the doorsteps of 31,000 households in March.
“I would encourage people living in Dumfries & Galloway, as well as visitors to the region, to join our VisitScotland onlinecommunity and help spread the Spirit of Scotland with others. The online community gives people the chance to share their memorable moments, places, people and experiences from Dumfries & Galloway to inspire visitors from near and far to visit.
“There is also plenty for the family to enjoy this summer in Dumfries & Galloway, from outdoor pursuits at Laggan Outdoor and the arrival of the first ever Giant Swing Drop at Galloway Activity Centre, 7stanes Dalbeattie Mountain Biking Centre to the unspoiled beaches at Sandyhills Bay and the adventures to be had at Drumlanrig Castle and Caerlaverock Castle.
“I hope residents, businesses and visitors alike have a great season ahead and discover the delights on offer in Dumfries & Galloway.”