Businesses fire the starting gun for Galloway National Park drive
Dozens of businesses of all kinds are signing up to the new Count Me In! drive to persuade the next Scottish Government to establish a national park in Galloway.
Supporters gathered in Kirkcudbright to fire the starting gun for the initiative – part of which involves creating a group of Business Champions.
They agree a national park would: be good for Galloway - and even better for business; give Galloway an internationally recognised brand; bring more visitors and spending to the area; attract people to live and work Galloway; create brilliant marketing opportunities for local business.
Nick Morris, owner of the Station House Cookery School, said: “Raising awareness around the unique offerings within the food and drink sector is essential for the future of south west Scotland.
“National Park status would increase footfall in the area bringing much needed support for all local businesses.”
Esther Tacke, who runs Galloway Cycling Holidays, said: “We support the Galloway National Park as an important platform for sustainable green economic development – of which tourism is an integral part.”
Fiona Lee, who runs Kirkcudbright Art Tours, said: "Galloway has been a well-kept secret, but now is the moment to share our history, land and seascapes, hospitality and rich culture with the world.
“For art lovers there is much to see and learn across the region that has proved a perfect home for countless artists, of all kinds, past and present.”
Allan Caldow, owner of J Hall & Sons Butchers, added: “When I’ve been to national parks during high season they’ve been booming.
"There’s no reason why we couldn’t have the same benefits here. More tourists coming in would be great for all businesses in Galloway.”
Political support for the campaign, which is being run by the Galloway National Park Association, has been growing ahead of next month’s Scottish Parliament elections.
All five constituency candidates for the Galloway and West Dumfries seat expressed support for the idea during a BBC radio hustings.