Over 180 representatives of tourism in Dumfries and Galloway – annually worth £292 million to the region’s economy – gathered in Dumfries this week for this year’s industry conference.
Organised by VisitScotland and Dumfries and Galloway Council, the event at the Cairndale Hotel and Leisure Club provided an opportunity for businesses - ranging from accommodation providers to attractions, tour guides to transport operators and restaurants to retailers - to celebrate the industry and focus on the opportunities presented by the Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015.
Introducing the conference were VisitScotland Regional Director Paula McDonald and Councillor Colin Smyth, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee. Delegates then listened to presentations from Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, Stephen Jardine, Scottish media presenter and head of food and drink communications company Taste Communications, Fiona Richmond, Project Manager of Scotland Food and Drink, and Barry Graham of Loch Arthur Creamery and Farm Shop.
Councillor Colin Smyth, Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Chair of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee said: “Tourism is at the heart of economic success in Dumfries & Galloway - supporting more than 5,300 jobs, sustaining communities and worth £292 million to the region’s economy - so the Council is committed to supporting the industry and working with it to ensure that Dumfries and Galloway is recognised more widely as a world-class destination where visitors can enjoy a fantastic experience and get a taste of the very best that Scotland has to offer.”
One of the main aims of yesterday’s event was to encourage and inspire businesses throughout the region to capitalise on the Year of Food and Drink and take advantage of the fact that Dumfries and Galloway boasts so many excellent food and drink suppliers. VisitScotland research shows that visitors will pay up to 15% more for traditional dishes and fresh local produce, so Dumfries and Galloway’s regional larder has a huge role to play in growing its economy.
To help and encourage conference attendees to make connections with local food and drink suppliers and appreciate the range of great Dumfries and Galloway produce which is available, the event included a mini-showcase of producers from all over the region.
Taking part and giving attendees a chance to sample their wares were - Barscobe Castle (handmade nut butters), Wigtown’s Galloway Chillies (fine chilli preserves) The Little Bakery (breads and savoury pies), By Heck (traditional jams and preserves), In House – Chocolates By Design (chocolates and truffles), Wee Sweetie Confectionery Creations (flavoured sweets and fudges), Moniaive Chocolate (chocolates), Cream o’ Galloway (ice creams and dairy-free sorbets), The Wee Tea Company (loose leaf teas) and Annandale Distillery (single malt whisky).