Tourism spending breaks £300m mark for first time

Cree Bridge
Cree Bridge

Tourist spending across the region broke the £300 million mark last year for the first time, according to figures released this week.

Dumfries and Galloway Council said the figures show an increase in visitor numbers to almost two and a half million – up 1.8% on the previous year.

The figures also claim that employment has risen “modestly” with just a 0.5% climb in the hospitality sector.

Visitor numbers in 2014 were 2,429,000 while tourists spent 4.2% more over the period.

However, no break-down in figures was forthcoming showing the latest impact of tourism in the west of the region, which has come under fire in recent months from local business owners who feel the area is quieter and struggling more than ever.

Newton Stewart’s Tourist Information Centre was recently closed down and an information point instead installed in the offices of Wigtown Rural Development Company on Queen Street – a move which upset and concerned many in the hospitality trade.

Yet a council spokesperson was able to say of the figures released this week: “Due to the significant impact from Gretna and Gretna Green, separate figures show an impressive 4% increase in visitors and 8.7% increase in visitor spend.”

The figures were released by Global Tourism Solutions which produces the Scottish Tourism Economic Activity Monitor (STEAM) report on behalf of Dumfries and Galloway Council.