Background

In May 2018 following the establishment of the South of Scotland Economic Partnership, the two destination groups for the South of Scotland (Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership and Visit South West Scotland) came together to form a Tourism Leadership Group (TLG)

This group has been steadily working on devising a programme of activity to unite the region as a single destination and has secured a £2.7m budget from South of Scotland Enterprise Agency (SOSE) towards a £4m programmes to drive this forward over the next five years. This builds upon an original start up fund of £350K, which was awarded through South of Scotland Enterprise Partnership (SoSEP) and supported by VisitScotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council and Scottish Borders Council.

Our story so far …

  • We acknowledged the need for a joined-up tourism voice across the South with a Tourism Leadership Group (TLG) formed in May 2018.

  • In July 2019, the South of Scotland summit, attended by 24 tourism businesses, SoSEP, key agencies and local organisations unanimously agreed a collaborative action plan and the sourcing of a strategic funding package.

  • This need for a coherent strategic approach is supported by TEAM Tourism’s Market Assessment Report in April 2019 that formed part of the SoSEP tourism work plan.

  • We have developed a long term proposition, linked to the National Tourism Strategy, that over the course of the next five years allows us to become a profit making business that drives £750 million of tourism spend in the region, with an increase to £1billion by 2030.

  • Our focus is on place-making, people, digital capability and sustainability

  • As an industry we were optimistic about the outlook for 2020, however Covid19 very quickly had a devastating impact on tourism businesses across the South of Scotland, so now more than ever before, we believe the role and function of SSDA is critically important to the recovery and future economy of the South.

The Covid19 pandemic has since had far reaching consequences globally and the tourism sector has been one of the worst hit. But this has served to cement the resolve of the TLG to lead the industry out of this crisis and create a new norm for destination development, management and marketing.

Adopting the place brand Scotland Starts Here, the TLG established South of Scotland Destination Alliance Ltd in May 2020 and is seeking to establish a long term programme of activity that will completely reinvent the destination credentials of this region which is within a 2 hour drive of 14m people.