Tweed Valley tourism BID gains momentum

Autumn fishing at Yair

 

An exciting initiative to develop a tourism-based Business Improvement District (BID) project for the Tweed Valley has taken a step forward following the Tweed Valley Tourist Consortium’s (TVTC) successful application for initial seed-corn funding.

This grant, provided by the Scottish Government, supports local partners in taking forward development proposals to establish BIDs – a coming together of businesses to work towards improvements that help grow a local community and economy.

Scottish Borders Council has also indicated that it will provide match funding for this development phase of the project.

“This initial funding means that we can now really get started on the project,” commented Catherine Maxwell Stuart from Traquair House, and Chair of the Tweed Valley Tourism BID. “When we applied for funding in the summer, we saw excellent support from local tourism businesses, all of whom recognise this as a means of securing a consistent level of funding to resource a targeted and effective tourism business plan for the Tweed Valley.”

The Tweed Valley has seen a significant growth in tourism over the past 15 years, with the rise of mountain biking and leisure cycling in particular playing a critical role in bringing more visitors to the region.

Neil Dalgleish, Vice Chair of the Tweed Valley BID, added: “It’s an exciting prospect – we have an opportunity to do something bold, innovative and unique here, which could dramatically transform the tourism offer and industry in the Tweed Valley. This project could help take the Tweed Valley to a totally new level of visibility and success.”

If approved, a BID will enable the local authority to collect a compulsory levy which the businesses within the proposed BID area must vote in favour of before the BID can be established. The income raised from the levy can then be matched against other public sector funds to allow for additional investment.

The Tweed Valley Tourism BID Steering Group have been busy planning the development phase, including bringing on board a project manager who will begin work early in 2018. The project manager will work closely with all tourism businesses in the Tweed Valley to develop a fully-fledged business plan, and then generate support for that plan ahead of a final vote on the proposed Tourism BID in 2019.

Catherine added: “The Tweed Valley has a strong brand, but in order to sustain and grow tourism here we need further investment in marketing the area, as well as improving transport links and tourism infrastructure. We have some world class assets to work with, and standing still is not an option. There’s huge potential if we combine our ideas and resources and work together for mutual success.”  

 

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