Dumfries and Galloway visitor numbers and the economy are growing thanks to tourism.  This is the information that will be presented to Councillors at the Economy, Environment and Infrastructure committee next week (14 June).  Councillors will receive a positive report showing how the Council’s funding to Visit Scotland last year really made a difference to the local economy as the sector continues to go from strength to strength.

The Council provided Visit Scotland with a budget allocation of £205,000 last year which was to be used to for marketing activities, to provide visitor information service and partnership activities.  In a report to Members, they will be told how this money has been used to grow visit numbers, bring more money into the local economy and create more jobs.

The value of tourism to the region’s economy in 2015 was £320 million, an increase of 6% from the previous year.  Employment in the sector also grew by 1.9%, employing 7,105 direct and indirect jobs.  Overall, the region welcomed 2.54 million visitors in 2015 (and increase of 4.6%).

The report will show that the Autumn/Winter campaign included a direct mail shot to 35,000 homes with digital activity reaching over 3.5 million.  This activity generated an additional £538,866 to the region’s economy.  The Spring/Summer 2015 campaign included a direct mail shot to 34,000 homes with press and digital activity reaching 8 million.  This activity generated an additional £752,531 to the region’s economy.

Also highlighted in the report is the drop in bookings made Visitor Information Centres, as more and more visitors switch to booking and accessing information online, however Visitor Information centres still generated £61,523 in the areas in 2015.

The report which will be presented to Councillors recommends retaining annual funding of £205,000 for 2016/17.

Chair of the Economy, Environment and Infrastructure committee, Colin Smyth, said “Building the local economy is the council’s number one priority and there is no more important sector to help achieve this than Tourism. It supports thousands of jobs locally, sustaining communities and generating hundreds of millions of pounds in revenue for the region.  At the start of March, our Council agreed a new Regional Tourism Strategy for 2016-2020.  Within the strategy, there are some challenging targets to increase the value of tourism, the number of visitors and the number of jobs in the local tourism economy.  I am delighted by the figures presented in this report, show that we are already making good progress to achieving those targets.  There is still much more to do to promote what Dumfries and Galloway has to offer because despite our success it is still all too often an area missed by tourists heading north. However, through providing funding to Visit Scotland for marketing activities, they will continue to promote the potential of our beautiful and rural region, bringing more people to Dumfries and Galloway to visit again and again.”

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