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Travel expert praises South of Scotland

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By Fiona Reid
Travel expert praises South of Scotland

A LEADING travel writer and broadcaster this week said the South of Scotland is perfectly placed to become a leading tourist destination.

Simon Calder was a keynote speaker at the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) inaugural conference in Dumfries on Tuesday.

He said: “More than ever, people want to slow down. They want to escape to the sea, the hills and crave wide open spaces with natural beauty, which are all available in abundance in the South of Scotland.”

And he advised that the recipe for success for tourism businesses locally was to offer “experiences that create lasting memories”.

Calder, who holidayed in the area last year, shared suggestions for attracting more visitors, included creating interesting cross-country road trip experiences such as a route between Stranraer on the west coast of Dumfries and Galloway to St Abbs on the east coast of the Borders; and establishing a ‘Burns to Scott’ literary trail across the South of Scotland.

The potential around coastal tourism, literary tourism, long-distance walking and cycling routes and a growing appetite for local food and drink and visiting places with strong sustainable credentials were other themes that emerged during the event at the Easterbrook Hall.

Other speakers included the Alliance’s CEO Ross McAuley, who shared his vision to elevate the South to a ‘go-to place rather than a go-through place’.

He said: “The people and businesses of the South have shown incredible resilience in the last two years. Now it’s time to come together and rise to the challenge of building the South into a year-round destination and bring tourists who stay and spend in our local communities.”

Concluding, Rob Dickson, from VisitScotland, acknowledge the tough times that local businesses had been through but added: “Destinations like the South of Scotland that offer wide open spaces, fresh air and authentic outdoor experiences are becoming increasingly popular to a wider range of year-round visitors.”

PHOTOCALL . . . team and directors at SSDA *

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