A £1 million investment into the development of a new forest tourism attraction will help leverage in more than £10.7 million of private sector funding and bring thousands of new visitors to the south of Scotland.
Scottish Government funding to Forest Enterprise Scotland will support plans for 16km of new mountain biking trails, multi-use paths and other infrastructure improvements which are part of a wider 56 eco-cabin development at Glentress Forest.
The overall £11.75 million tourism development is being managed in a partnership between Forest Enterprise Scotland and Forest Holidays which is providing the private sector investment.
The investment has the potential to generate an extra £1 million into the local economy each year, employ up to 60 people and increase visitors to Glentress Forest from 300,000 to 330,000 by 2022.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced Scottish Government support for the project ahead of the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) annual conference in Edinburgh. She said:
“Tourism is one of our most important industries, showcasing Scotland as a great place to live, work, study and invest in so I’m delighted this support will draw thousands of new visitors to the south of Scotland.
“This project highlights the potential of private and public sectors working together. This fantastic new forest attraction will increase tourism and potential for overnight stays, create new jobs and boost the local economy.
“Our investment builds on the range of support we’re providing the sector through the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund, Scotland is Now campaign and the work we will undertake over the coming year to encourage fair work practices and promote tourism as a career of choice.”
Sallie Bailey, regional manager with Forest Enterprise Scotland said:
“This is great news for the Tweed Valley and the Scottish Borders as a whole.
“Work is now in progress to take forward these exciting new developments at Glentress and in the next two years we will see a real step change in what we offer visitors to the area.
“This has been an excellent partnership project right from the very start, involving local stakeholders in its development. We are thrilled at the prospect of raising the game of forest tourism in the Scottish Borders.”
Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said:
“Today’s announcement is reflective of the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting the growth of our tourism industry, and highlights the understanding of much needed need in Scotland’s tourism product if we are to strengthen and shape a vibrant tourism industry for the future.
“This is great news for the south of Scotland, an area where there is huge potential for tourism and the partnership project is an excellent example of public and private sectors working together to strengthen Scotland’s position as a global tourism destination.”