ESKDALE’S eco-tourism project was among eight businesses to be invited to attend the launch of VisitScotland’s See South Scotland campaign.
Kevin Cumming, Wild Eskdale project manager, travelled to Edinburgh where he attended the event at the Scottish parliament.
The Wild Eskdale project, which is still only eight months old, has attracted a lot of attention already.
The project hopes to build on the potential for eco-tourism in the Langholm area and beyond through wildlife tours and experiences.
The special event at the parliament building was co-sponsored by Joan McAlpine MSP, Rachael Hamilton MSP and Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, tourism and external affairs, and hosted by VisitScotland.
More than 100 tourism businesses from Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders attended to celebrate tourism in southern Scotland.
A VisitScotland spokesperson said: “We launched the See South Scotland campaign last October to promote southern Scotland as a tourism destination to key UK and European markets.
“Bringing Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders together as one for the first time, #SeeSouthScotland focuses specifically on the region’s world-class coastal and forest activity, dark skies, walking, cycling and the Galloway & Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere.”
A selection of eight businesses were asked to exhibit at the event as a showcase of what southern Scotland has to offer.
Kevin was delighted to have been asked to exhibit the Langholm Initiative’s project.
He said: “It speaks volumes about what we have achieved already with this project.
“To see the excitement about what we are trying to do and hear so much positivity about the potential for the area was very inspiring.”
The eco-tourism aspect of the Wild Eskdale project is already starting to reap some rewards.
Kevin added: “We have already taken bookings for wildlife experiences this year and these people will be coming to stay in the area and to spend money in accommodation and at other attractions.
“It is exactly what we hoped for from this aspect of the project.
“There is some negativity locally about how VisitScotland has approached the A7 area in the past, which is understandable.
“However, I feel that to move forward we have to work together to promote this hidden gem.
Wild Eskdale has also been heavily featured in VisitScotland’s promotional material for 2019.
“I was delighted to see Wild Eskdale and, by extension, Langholm feature so prominently in the direct marketing for the #SeeSouthScotland campaign.
“It is paying dividends already with a booking coming directly from it. It is a huge compliment to a project which is still very much in its infancy,” said Kevin.
Ms McAlpine, MSP for South of Scotland, said: “I’m delighted to co-host this showcase for southern Scotland in our national parliament.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for VisitScotland to promote Dumfries and Galloway to the rest of the country.
“From stunning scenery, outdoor pursuits, incredible heritage and marvellous food and drink, the region has so many attractions and this special campaign rightly celebrates them all.”
Ms Hamilton, MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, added: “Tourism is an incredibly important enabler in the Scottish Borders and it’s essential that we are part of VisitScotland’s campaign to promote southern Scotland.
“Rural tourism in Borders’ towns and villages creates jobs and benefits the wider economy and we are lucky to have a wide and varied tourism offering and plenty of reasons for tourists to visit.
“Famously, Hawick showcases the best of cashmere and knitwear to tweed, gin and whisky production, Berwickshire boasts breathtaking coastal walks and agri-tourism ventures, like Fluffy Moos, offer corporate team-building.
“Thirlestane Castle has developed a fantastic accommodation offering alongside its traditional visitor experience and Newcastleton has the world-class 7Stanes mountain biking trails.”