With the pandemic creating a ‘perfect storm’ of staycations a city dwellers looking for rural escape, the south of Scotland is perfectly placed to become a leading tourist destination, according to travel expert Simon Calder.
The guest speaker said: “More than ever, people want to slow down. They want to escape to the sea, the hills and crave wide open spaces with natural beauty, which are all available in abundance in the south of Scotland.”
Mr Calder said the recipe for success was to offer “experiences that create lasting memories” and shared suggestions including cross-country road trip experiences from Stranraer to St Abbs and establishing a ‘Burns to Scott’ literary trail.
Other speakers at the event, held at The Crichton, included the Alliance’s CEO Ross McAuley, who shared his vision to elevate the south to a ‘go-to place rather than a go-through place’.
He said: “It’s time to come together and rise to the challenge of building the south into a year-round destination and bring tourists who stay and spend in our communities.”
Representatives from VisitScotland, Scotland Food & Drink, the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere, the Southern Uplands Partnership and The South of Scotland Enterprise also spoke at the event, alongside a number of local businesses including The Plough Inn in Wigtown and Five Kingdoms Brewery in The Isle of Whithorn.