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Bordering on World Class

Press Release   •   May 28, 2015 13:10 BST

VisitScotland is investing £367,000 in a unique domestic and international marketing campaign to put the new Borders Railway on the map.

The funding has been given to the national tourism organisation by the Scottish Government, Scottish Borders Council and Midlothian Council to promote this, the longest new domestic railway to open in the UK for over a century.

With interest in the Railway from as far afield as Japan, New Zealand and Canada, VisitScotland has its sights set on the global market as well as the all-important domestic market to ensure visitors are aware of this remarkable new tourism experience in Scotland, which will take people deep into the heart of one of the less explored regions of the country.

The campaign, which will launch this summer, will include outdoor, radio, and digital advertising in the UK, Germany and North America. Press trips and PR activity will focus on core markets in the UK, France, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, North America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. There will also be extensive social media activity, trade media and a dedicated page on visitscotland.com to encourage visitors to explore Edinburgh, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders by Rail.

Key themes used within the campaign will be ‘soft adventure’ (cycling, walking, mountain biking), food and drink, events, mining, textiles and literature.

A big draw for visitors will be the attractions and landscapes associated with Sir Walter Scott and his writings. Delving deep into ‘Scott country’ , visitors can start their journey at the Sir Walter Scott monument and then travel the 30 mile route of the Borders Railway, taking in the scenery that inspired Scott’s greatest poems and novels, ending at Tweedbank, just a short distance from his beloved Abbotsford House.

The announcement comes as VisitScotland launches its unique Borders Railway toolkit to ensure businesses in the locale of the new line are able to make the most of tourism opportunities. The toolkit includes free downloadable artwork, itineraries and information and is available on www.visitscotland.org/borders-railway-toolkit.aspx

Scottish Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said:

“Scotland has some of the most fantastic landscapes and a high quality environment that is widely appreciated by visitors from home and abroad. The new Borders Railway will provide a great opportunity for everyone to fully appreciate all that Midlothian and the Scottish Borders have to offer.

“Visitors will experience a wonderful array of things to see and do from enjoying exciting festivals, uncovering a wonderful arts and crafts scene, tasting delicious local produce and exploring miles of rolling hills and leafy valleys.

“Tourism plays a vital role in promoting the Scottish brand and it is important that we continue to build on our success in this area. The Year of Homecoming in 2014 has taken Scotland’s profile to great heights and with 2015 being the Year of Food and Drink, we are determined to build on this success for the future. The new Borders Railway will provide an opportunity for Edinburgh, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders to play a key role in this – and our future themed years.”

Mike Cantlay OBE, Chairman of VisitScotland said:

On a trade mission to Japan earlier this year, I was blown away by the interest and excitement in the Borders Railway as a unique new experience to discover in Scotland. This fascination is equalled across the world and we have already had a high level of interest from international press keen to encounter an area of Scotland they are unfamiliar with and learn about new cultures, architecture, heritage and traditions from mining to textiles, literature to cycling.

“The Railway will enhance Edinburgh, Midlothian and Scottish Borders’ economies and deliver prosperity to the regions by providing inspiring opportunities for businesses along the route. We are thrilled to be embarking on this marketing campaign and hope that businesses take real advantage of the free downloadable toolkit to grasp all opportunities presented by this exciting new attraction. We can’t wait to present the Borders Railway to the world!”

Chief Executive of Midlothian Council, Kenneth Lawrie, said:

“A very warm welcome and a great visitor experience await tourists coming to the county.

“Less than 10 miles south of Edinburgh city centre, Midlothian is steeped in history with famous buildings such as Rosslyn Chapel, the National Mining Museum and many other attractions. With the Pentlands on our doorstep, beautiful countryside, Vogrie Country Park and the Midlothian Snowsports Centre, the county is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts too. We’re looking forward to introducing all this to the many extra visitors the Borders Railway will bring to Midlothian .”

Scottish Borders Council Leader, Councillor David Parker, said:

“This is an exciting time for the Scottish Borders as we head towards the opening of the Borders Railway in September.

“The train will bring visitors directly to world class attractions such as Abbotsford House and Melrose set into the stunning backdrop of the Eildon Hills. Our historic common ridings take place from June to August each year and we host major international events such as the Borders Book Festival and the Tour of Britain, which will be more accessible to our visitors than ever before.

“The new VisitScotland toolkit will be hugely beneficial to our businesses who are keen to grab this opportunity to promote the new railway line as part of their marketing plans for this year and into the future.”

Marketing activity will begin in the summer of 2015. The toolkit will go live today (Thursday 28 May).

The Borders Railway will open on the 4 September 2015 with a 3 day celebration including music, performances and a special steam train excursion.

The project is being delivered as part of the ‘Borders Railway Blueprint’, that sets out an ambition to fully realise the economic benefits of the Borders Railway, transform tourism opportunities and open up communities in South-East Scotland as new places to live, work, learn, play and grow. More info on the Borders Railway Blueprint can be found here -

http://www.visitscotland.org/pdf/Borders-Railway-Blueprint.pdf

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation has three key roles:
    1. To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
    2. To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
    3. To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • According to a recent Deloitte study, the tourism economy supports 270,000 jobs in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the tourism economy contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
  • For information about business tourism in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com

Year of Food and Drink 2015

  • 2015 is the Year of Food and Drink, a celebration of Scotland’s natural larder and the role that food and drink plays in shaping our economic success.
  • Scotland generates over £2.5m per day through food and drink tourism.
  • A series of themed months will create an appetite for key areas of Scotland’s food and drink industries – from seafood and whisky to berries and high-quality meat
  • For more information, visit www.visitscotland.com/tastescotland