A ‘first’ for tourism accommodation will attract more visitors to Dumfries and Galloway during Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Design & Architecture.
A new type of luxury Scottish tourism accommodation opens today (Friday 10 June) created by award winning designer Sam Booth, and is expected to attract up to thousands more visitors to one of Scotland’s popular visitor attractions in South West Scotland.
Sam Booth, whose award winning work has featured on the likes of Channel 4 ‘George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces’ and in international publications and exhibitions, has created a unique Ec(h)o-Yurt, commissioned by Galloway Activity Centre near Castle Douglas and situated by the shores of Loch Ken. The structure is a first in terms of design and engineering and introduces a brand new experience in luxury tourism accommodation available in Scotland.
The remarkable building is inspired by the Mongolian ‘yurt’ which is traditionally made of thick canvas. Similar to this the Ec(h)o Yurt is circular and six metres in diameter, yet the new creation is built entirely from Larch wood. With the natural environment and sustainability at the heart of the construction the structure is built from the ground upwards with a low carbon footprint, is entirely off-grid and covered with a grass Sedam roof allowing the accommodation to truly blend into the surrounding landscape.
A luxurious interior comfortably sleeps two people and is ideally designed for romantic couples who are expected to visit from all over the globe. Repurposed antique and vintage furniture have been upcycled offering guests a great, unique character to enjoy inside. Fittings include a wood burning stove and a double bed with luxury mattress and Egyptian cotton sheets fitted into the curvature of the building. The hideaway also houses a fully equipped kitchen, shower and toilet facilities with unlimited hot water and solar panels providing a small amount of power to run lighting.
Couples will discover a ‘lovers’ chair’ situated on the outdoor decking set within a peaceful outlook and can also relax in a two- person wood-fired hot tub from which to witness magnificent sunsets.
The idyllic location hosts an abundance of wildlife including Red Deer, Squirrels and Red Kites which are all regular sights and occasionally an otter in the early hours. The Ec(h)o Yurt is just one of the large investments being made at Galloway Activity Centre this year with the centre introducing Scotland’s first Red Paddle Academy and also the Scottish Open Water Event in September in association with Wild Swim Scotland, which is expected to attract hundreds of people.
Richard Hermon, Director of Galloway Activity Centre, said:
“I’m delighted to have introduced a first for engineering and design when it comes to holiday accommodation and I am sure people from all over the UK and further afield will be keen to experience a stay in this incredible structure set within magnificent Scottish scenery.
“Our significant investment into this Ec(h)o-Yurt, as well as this year’s fantastic, new activities to add to the exciting outdoor activity portfolio offered at Galloway Activity Centre will create four new jobs here. Our current occupancy is at 80% and we anticipate Scotland’s new tourism accommodation – the Ec(h)o Yurt to bring in £35K and this year’s investment to bring up to another 2000 visitors to the centre which will be a real boost for this part of Scotland.”
Doug Wilson, Regional Director of VisitScotland, said:
“An increasing number of visitors are looking for unique, exciting experiences and want to find somewhere to stay which is unusual, quirky and fun. The Ec(h)o Yurt will be ideal for this growing, more adventurous market so should be extremely popular. The launch of this pioneering type of accommodation at Galloway Activity Centre enables Dumfries & Galloway to score a first for Scottish tourism and it’s very fitting that such an original new concept is being introduced during Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture & Design.
“The investment being made at Galloway Activity Centre this year to extend and develop the range of both its accommodation and activities demonstrates a real commitment to further enhancing our region’s tourism offering and attracting more visitors to this wonderful part of the country. I wish Richard and his team continued success and a great season ahead.”
Finlay Carson, MSP, said:
“It is a great pleasure to be asked to open the new Ec(h)o-Yurt at the Galloway Activity Centre. Richard and his team have done a terrific job to bring this unique form of holiday accommodation to the Glenkens.
“In this Year of Architecture, Innovation & Design, I can think of no better way to encourage tourists to our region than to give them an experience they won’t forget in the new Ec(h)o-Yurt – a first for engineering and design. As well as being eco-friendly and sustainable, the accommodation provides a luxurious experience for all those who are lucky to stay in it. This is another feather in the cap for the Galloway Activity Centre and I wish them every success”.
Research from national tourism organisation shows that activity holidays in Scotland are worth £848 million to the Scottish economy.