Businesses gearing up for busy tourism season

With summer fast approaching, attractions and firms in the visitor economy will be preparing for their peak trading period. Many in the Scottish Borders and Midlothian will be especially looking forward to the season following the publication last year of encouraging statistics on growth in the area.

The Scottish Tourism Economic Assessment Monitor (STEAM) statistics, revealed in January, showed a significant improvement in key tourism performance figures in the first half of 2016, compared to the first half of 2015 when the railway was not yet open.

For the first time in a decade, the Scottish Borders have shown improved results in every STEAM category – the only area of mainland Scotland to do so for this period.

The introduction of the railway is thought to be the main factor behind these figures. Passenger numbers at all Borders stations have exceeded predictions, with over 1.2 million journeys reported in the first year alone. The additional seats on peak time services and more improvements and initiatives in the pipeline are all helping to bring more visitors and day-trippers to the region.

The Borders Railway Blueprint Group is working with local authorities in the Scottish Borders, Midlothian and Edinburgh to encourage businesses to take advantage of the many development opportunities available in the region, which has been opened up to a greater audience by the railway.

QUICK FACTS:

Scottish Borders

  • The number of visitor days in hotels and bed and breakfasts has risen by 27 per cent
  • A 20 per cent rise in visitor spend on food and drink
  • Visitor spend on accommodation is up 17 per cent
  • A 16 per cent rise in overall visitor spend
  • The number of days visitors stayed in the Borders has increased by almost 11 per cent
  • Eight per cent increase in employment related to tourism

Midlothian

  • A 12.3 per cent rise in the number of visitor days in hotels and bed and breakfasts compared with first six months of 2015
  • Visitor spend on food and drink in same period rose by 6.5 per cent
  • Overall visitor spend was up 6.8 per cent
  • The number of days visitors stayed in Midlothian increased by 7.2 per cent
  • A 4.1 per cent improvement in employment related to tourism.