The Sleeper's Daily Blog

31.01.17

Scottish Borders tourism soars for the first time in 10 years – all thanks to rail

The Scottish Borders have seen “substantial” increases to its local tourism – and it could all be thanks to the region’s recently opened Borders Railway.

In papers presented to the Scottish Borders Council executive committee this morning, the Scottish Tourism Economic Assessment Monitor (STEAM) – an annual tourism data measure regularly commissioned by the local authority – revealed that, from January to June last year, visitor days in the Scottish Borders are up by almost 11% compared to 2015.

Visitor spend also grew by 16%, whilst employment related to tourism increased by 8% and the number of visitor days in hotels and B&Bs skyrocketed by a whopping 27%.

Overall, every single tracked category showed positive growth – the first time this has happened in over a decade.

“The rise in tourism activity in the Scottish Borders, both in terms of numbers and economic impact, is substantial for the first six months of 2016, not only when compared to the previous year, but also when compared to other local authority areas in Scotland,” read the paper.

Global Tourism Solutions, the company responsible for the STEAM data analysis, believes the most likely source of this tourism boost in the region, given the timeframe, is the positive impact of the Borders Railway and “its role in bringing staying visitors and day-trippers to the area”.

Scottish Borders Council’s Stuart Bell, an executive member for economic development, praised the findings, arguing that tourism is “absolutely vital” to the region’s economy.

“For the first time in a decade, the Borders have shown improved results in every STEAM category – the only area of mainland Scotland to do so for this period,” he added. “The introduction of the railway has undoubtedly contributed to these figures.”

STEAM’s findings even got a shout-out from Scottish transport minister Humza Yousaf, who said the government had always been confident that the railway would deliver “major economic opportunities and attract new investment”.

Passenger services were re-launched on Borders Railway, Britain’s longest domestic railway built for more than 100 years, in September 2015. It had originally been shut down in 1969 as a result of the Beeching cuts.

Since its reopening, passengers have been commenting on both how stunning the scenery is during the trip and how much quicker journeys are on rail rather than bus. In February last year, there were even calls for a Borders Railway extension as it was revealed the historic line carried half a million passengers within the first four months of operation.

Comments

Revolting Peasant   31/01/2017 at 13:01

Unsurprising that an accessible and 'new to this generation' transport mode, designed to connect people with places, has been proven to do rather well exactly what it was designed to! What needs to happen now is a well-designed capacity enhancement on the Tweedbank to Shawfair section, to reduce the impact of delays attributed to the single-track stretches, plus a prudent extension through Melrose, via Newton St Boswells and on to Hawick, to really unlock the region's greater potential.

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

HS2 can ‘only be as good as local rail connections make it’

17/02/2017HS2 can ‘only be as good as local rail connections make it’

It is of vital importance that investment in the conventional rail network continues over the next 20 years during the development of HS2 to ensu... more >
Settle to Carlisle line on track for March reopening

17/02/2017Settle to Carlisle line on track for March reopening

Considerable progress has been made on plans to reinstate the iconic Settle to Carlisle railway ahead of its scheduled reopening next month. ... more >
GTR failures account for 86% of national decline in rail performance

17/02/2017GTR failures account for 86% of national decline in rail performance

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has, unsurprisingly, once again come bottom of the two separate public performance measure (PPM) charts released t... more >

editor's comment

17/01/2017Rising to the digital demand

The countdown is well and truly on for this year’s UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA), and the whole RTM team is looking forward to welcoming you to the fourth edition of this event on 9 February.  Held once again at Battersea Evolution, the prestigious awards ceremony promises to be an extraordinary evening, celebrating some of the major achievements of the industry in the last year. You can see the awards shortlist on pag... read more >

last word

Making rail fares simpler

Making rail fares simpler

David Sidebottom, passenger director at Transport Focus, explains how a number of initiatives over the next 12 months aim to make rail fares simpler. By the end of 2017, we hope passengers will see fairer and simpler fares.  Two recent initiatives should help achieve this.  One initiative was a response to our four-year campaign to change the processes and protections surrounding ‘ticketless’ travel and penalt... more > more last word articles >
board2

'the sleepers' daily blog

Southern Rail passengers reminded to claim compensation

03/02/2017Southern Rail passengers reminded to claim compensation

Southern’s annual season ticket holders have been reminded that they are entitled to claim compensation due to the franchise’s poor performance over the 2016-17 financial year. Last year, the DfT promised that Southern season ticket holders would be able to claim the equivalent of a month’s worth of fares in compensation... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The role of simulation in ERTMS training and system design

01/02/2017The role of simulation in ERTMS training and system design

Paul Boyle, head of ERTMS at Virgin Trains East Coast (VTEC), discusses the role of simulation in ERTMS training ahead of this year’s &lsqu... more >
Digital railway maintenance

01/02/2017Digital railway maintenance

Tim Flower, head of maintenance at Network Rail, explains how the infrastructure owner is adopting a new approach for condition monitoring to max... more >
Challenges and opportunities for big data in the Digital Railway

01/02/2017Challenges and opportunities for big data in the Digital Railway

Dr John Easton and Dr Shruti Kohli from the University of Birmingham write for RTM about the role big data can play in transforming the country&r... more >
A better railway depends on harnessing technology

27/01/2017A better railway depends on harnessing technology

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), argues that we must change the status quo and invest in technology if we are to c... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Tackling regulation at its routes

24/01/2017Tackling regulation at its routes

John Larkinson, the ORR’s director of railway markets and economics, speaks to RTM about the move to regulating Network Rail at a route lev... more >
Investing in the future of Scottish Rail

15/11/2016Investing in the future of Scottish Rail

Phil Verster, managing director of ScotRail Alliance, speaks to RTM’s Luana Salles about the recently-published ‘Investing in the Fut... more >
Maintaining the safety momentum

12/09/2016Maintaining the safety momentum

Britain’s railways are currently the safest they have ever been, but there is still room for improvement, Ian Prosser, HM chief inspector o... more >