A STEAM train experience operating in the Scottish Borders this August has reported a second successful year, bringing more than 1200 visitors to the region and providing a major boost for local businesses and visitor attractions.
The Scottish Railway Preservation Society’s Railtours (SRPS) steam special ran four trips from the Fife Coast to the Scottish Borders every Sunday in August.
The Black Five steam locomotive travelled along the Borders Railway, stopping at Galashiels and Tweedbank, with passengers given the opportunity to travel onto Abbotsford House for lunch and a tour, or onto Seasonsin Gattonside for lunch.
The successful rail tour comes as the Borders Railway celebrates its third birthday this month. As part of the Borders Railway Blueprint Partnership, VisitScotland seeks to maximise benefits from the rail route which re-opened in September 2015.
VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director Paula Ward said: “We are delighted that the steam train excursions have proved another success and attracted more than 1200 visitors to the Scottish Borders in August and benefiting local businesses directly. A dedicated social media campaign reached more than 600,000 people, helping to once again shine the spotlight on the region to the rest of the world.
“Scotland is about building bridges, connecting places and bringing people together. Tourism is at the heart of this and VisitScotland plays a role by championing collaboration, spearheading digital innovation, promoting local areas and events and ensuring that tourism is recognised for the ripple effect of success, well-being and prosperity it brings to all sections of society.”
Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Business and Economic Development, said: “The steam train experience has brought almost 3,000 people to the Borders in the last two summers, which is a fantastic boost to the area and would not have happened without the opening of the Borders Railway three years ago.
“It is great to hear a number of passengers returned this year, showing how much they enjoyed the steam train experience and the local attractions and restaurants we have to offer in the Borders.
“We look forward to welcoming steam trains back to the Borders in 2019 and to many visitors using the Borders Railway to visit year-round.”
Roger McKie, owner of Seasons Restaurant in Gattonside, offered lunch to passengers from the train. He said they used the opportunity to showcase local produce and suppliers and welcomed guests from as far afield as the US.
“We put on special menus focussing on local suppliers from within the Scottish Borders for our steam train diners.
“The steam train excursions were an opportunity to highlight the outstanding natural larder on offer in the region and it was very well received. We had a few diners from the US but most of the guests were from elsewhere in Scotland and were travelling to celebrate a special occasion or a birthday.
“What we have found from taking part last year was that many guests have returned to dine in our restaurant after taking part in the steam train excursion.”
For more information on the Borders Railway, visit www.bordersrailway.co.uk
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’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
- This will be supported by five overarching strategies: Marketing, Events, Quality and Sustainability, Inclusive Tourism, International Engagement.
- The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
- Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
- 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
2018 Year of Young People
- The Year of Young People (YoYP 2018) will inspire Scotland through its young people aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally
- Central to YoYP 2018 will be a celebratory events programme that puts young people at the heart of its development and delivery, creating new and valuable experiences for young Scots and the wider public, with links to the inaugural 2018 European Championships.
- Over 200 young people throughout Scotland are currently being recruited to become YoYP 2018 Ambassadors. Ambassadors will ensure that people and organisations in their communities know about what’s happening and will lead on projects and activities to create events and opportunities to celebrate young people.
- The Year of Young People will have six themes which were developed in co-production with young people themselves:
- Participation – looking at how young people can influence public services and decisions which affect their lives
- Education – creating a stronger role for young people in shaping their learning
- Health and Wellbeing – supporting young people to lead healthier, active lives and have opportunities to learn about and improve their mental health and resilience
- Equality and Discrimination – broadcasting the value of young Scots, challenging negative perceptions of young people, and supporting young people to take leading roles in challenging discrimination in all its forms.
- Enterprise and regeneration – celebrating young people’s role in innovation, entrepreneurship and the Scottish economy as well as making Scotland a greener and more pleasant place to live
- Culture – celebrating young people’s talent and contribution to Scottish culture and arts.
- Further information on what’s happening and how people can get involved can be found on the new website www.yoyp2018.scot or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.