Get Your Kicks On South Of Scotland’s Route 66 – New Tourist Route Proposed

South of Scotland MSP Emma Harper hosted a meeting yesterday (Wednesday) to start the process of establishing a tourist route in south west Scotland equivalent to the North Coast 500 – also known as Scotland’s Route 66.

Ms Harper invited a wide variety of stakeholders – including local business owners, parliamentarians, local government representatives and representatives from Visit Scotland, and Visit South West Scotland – to Kirkcudbright Bowling Club to explore the next steps for establishing a route.

The meeting was chaired by Creetown Initiative’s Lead Officer Andrew Ward and included a presentation from Roy Kirk of Highlands and Islands Enterprise who detailed the key success factors behind the development of the NC500.  Attendees unanimously agreed that a tourist route showcasing south west Scotland was worth exploring.  A steering group will now be established with the goal of commissioning a feasibility study to explore the potential of such a project in more detail.

Speaking after the meeting Ms Harper commented:

“I was pleased that so many people attended the meeting today to share their ideas on what a tourist route for the south west should look like. I am aware that a lot of work has been done by various groups and individuals on this idea already, so the aim of today’s meeting was to introduce everyone so that we can work together.
“I was also pleased to welcome Ian McAndrew, chairman of volunteer organisation Visit South West Scotland, as they have just released their brochure with new routes for exploring Castles, Coast and Robert Burns for 2017/2018.
“It is clear to me that we have great people on board with excellent ideas and a shared understanding of the huge benefits a comprehensive, properly marketed route could bring to our beautiful area of the country.
“I am particularly grateful to Andrew Ward for chairing the meeting, and to Roy Kirk for coming all the way from Thurso and to the many individuals and organisations involved in our region’s tourism industry who have contributed help and advice over the last few weeks. They have played a big part in facilitating this first meeting and I hope will continue to play a significant role going forward.”
“I have spoken with the relevant Government ministers regarding an equivalent South West route as well as MP and MSP colleagues in the South West of Scotland, and representatives from South Ayrshire Council so that we connect and work together. We all support this project and I look forward to working with them all.”

Councillor Andy Ferguson who attended the meeting along with councillor Iain Dick stated:

“A good positive discussion occurred around purpose, routes, potential for increasing jobs and economic growth for the region, which has been evidenced by the growth of the NC500.

Since its launch in 2014 marketing and publicity for the NC500 tourist route has reached an audience of 1.6 billion people around the world and the resulting increase in visitors to the area has led to the creation of 200 jobs and an average of 16% increase in profits for local businesses.

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