TOURISM businesses in Dumfries & Galloway are gearing up for a busy year, as the season gets fully underway (and the weather finally picks up!).
VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director Paula Ward looks ahead to an exciting season:
“At VisitScotland, we work closely with communities and businesses to showcase the rich assets, hidden gems and local stories of Dumfries & Galloway. The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology helped to shine the spotlight on the region’s historic visitor attractions with renewed interest in the castles and historic venues. Historic sites across Dumfries & Galloway saw a surge in visitor numbers last year as a result.
“The Year of Young People 2018 offers the opportunity to showcase the diverse range of activities on offer across the region. Dumfries & Galloway is a must-visit destination for outdoor activities, from the 7stanes mountain bike trail at Dalbeattie to the adrenaline-fuelled pursuits on offer at Laggan Outdoors and Galloway Activity Centre.
“Dumfries & Galloway’s reputation as a must-visit summer festival destination continues to grow with an incredible line-up once again for this year. With acts including Rudimental and Tinchy Stryder set to appear at Youth Beatz and Noel Gallacher and Idelwild at this year’s Electric Fields Festival, not to mention Groove Armada at the Eden Festival, the region is expected to entertain thousands of visitors from all over the UK this summer.”
“Partnership and collaboration is at the heart of Scottish tourism and VisitScotland is continually working with local industry to develop and deliver innovative initiatives that grow the visitor economy. Recently, we have been working on the development of a new ‘Scotland Shorts’ film highlighting the top nine things to do in the region. Our spring media packs have also landed on the doorstep of around 35,000 households throughout the region, showcasing some of the exciting food and drink on offer, as well as outdoor activities and festivals.
“It really is an exciting time for tourism in Dumfries & Galloway. With the creation of a new South of Scotland Economic Partnership Agency, tourism businesses in the region have a real opportunity to help influence a new approach to economic development across the South of Scotland.”
Amongst her highlights for this season, Paula is looking forward to:
- An Ethical Dairy Farm Tour at Cream O’Galloway – Finlay’s Farm in Rainton has adopted a new and ‘ethical’ approach to dairy production with farm tours available from May to October.
- Some fantastic new driving routes have been developed – the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere has a 35-mile route to give a flavour of all aspects of the biosphere and the natural assets provided by rivers and lochs and the South West Coastal 300 offers a stunning route across South West Scotland.
- Stranraer Oyster Festival, which welcomed 10,000 visitors in its first year, returns in September
- Spring Fling gets underway on 26th May when around 100 arts and craft studios will open their doors for the weekend.
Paula finishes: “There is so much for the family to enjoy this spring and summer in Dumfries & Galloway, from the fantastic walks and beaches to the Devil’s Porridge Museum which has some great interactive experiences, to the Crawick Multiverse.
“I am looking forward to the opening of Peter Pan’s Moat Brae House next year and with the opening of The Lake District airport at Carlisle next month, it is a great opportunity for visitors to travel north of the border to experience everything that the region has to offer.
“We have recently launched a new national brand for Scotland – Scotland is Now – in collaboration with the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Universities Scotland. Everything about Scotland comes from an authentic place – our beautiful scenery and the warmth of our people which is in abundance in Dumfries & Galloway
“I hope residents, businesses and visitors alike have a great season ahead and discover the delights on offer in the region.”