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Visitor slump hit Gretna attraction

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By Fiona Reid
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Visitor slump hit Gretna attraction

VISITORS to the Famous Blacksmith’s Shop complex at Gretna Green dropped by 79 per cent last year due to covid.

New figures show that 159,304 people visited the border attraction in 2020.

That compares to 772,448 the year before.

The situation is reflective of the national picture for Scotland, which saw visitor numbers decline overall by almost 34 million in 2020, according to data from the Moffat Centre for Travel and Tourism at Glasgow Caledonian University.

Centre director Professor John Lennon said: “The impact of Covid-19 was felt across all aspects of the Scottish visitor attractions sector as travel was restricted, the international market collapsed and the wider economy was impacted.

“Attractions are an essential element of the Scottish visitor experience. With international tourism unlikely to return until well into 2022, domestic visitors will provide the sole source of income. Their custom will be vital going forward.”

Gretna Green Famous Blacksmith’s Shop reopened its shops, museum and eating places on Monday morning and staff posted their excitement on social media, saying: “It’s been too long”.

They also unveiled new developments set up during the lockdown period, including a kids department, jewellery section and takeaway food areas.

Meanwhile, the sculpture garden at Gretna Green was also highlighted in a national newspaper this week as a must visit spot.

It was included in The Times’ ‘Beauty in nature’ list as one of the best places to see art outdoors, particularly for Big Dance, the Karin Jonzen bronzes and the terracotta Lovers.

They said: “It features a small but high-powered collection of romance-themed works”.

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