It is the first major investment programme from the South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) and aims to support the recovery and future of the economy in the region. SOSE has committed the money over five years to support a new tourism, marketing and destination development programme, which will be delivered by a new industry-led leadership body called South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA).
It is in addition to the original start up fund of £350k which was awarded through South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SOSEP) provided by the Scottish Government, and supported by VisitScotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council to develop the economy of the South. This brings the combined investment across the partners to over £3m.
SOSE chairman Professor Russel Griggs said: “This is a landmark investment and one which confirms our commitment to being ambitious and bold for our region. We have always said we will do things differently – to work in the south, for the south – and this is a key part of this is this five-year partnership.
“As well as helping the covid recovery, we are looking ahead to get us to a place where we will be attracting more people than ever to visit, stay and spend in the South of Scotland. We must focus on an optimistic future and one which makes our economy stronger than ever, building on the fantastic community spirit and commitment that we all have for our beautiful area and we will work closely with the SSDA to deliver this.”
Ian McAndrew, chairman of Visit South West Scotland, has described it as an ‘enormous boost’ for the industry and said: “Recovery from Covid-19 needs us all pulling together in the same direction.” VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead added: “This major funding announcement is fantastic news for tourism in the South of Scotland. “Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it sustains communities socially and economically and contributes to the health and wellbeing of the population.”