Outstanding response to Tourism BID survey

 

A survey sent to tourism-related businesses throughout the area has generated a clear list of priority actions that will now be used to inform the development of a Tweed Valley Tourism Business Improvement District (BID).

A key stage in an ongoing, and extensive, consultation process, the survey was sent to more than 170 tourism-related businesses, including accommodation providers, activity companies, retailers, restaurants and others with an interest in tourism in the Tweed Valley. The survey asked businesses a series of questions exploring their views on everything from access and infrastructure, advocacy, marketing and promotion and the visitor experience to the relative importance of specific markets, activities, events and festivals.

The questions clearly struck a chord, generating not only a high response rate from a cross-section of businesses, but also detailed feedback on how businesses would like to see tourism develop in the years to come.

Although the consultation process remains very much in its early stages, the responses demonstrated some clear initial priorities. Chief among them is improving the wider visitor experience, in part through the provision of better, more accessible information about the area and understanding the different needs of various visitor segments. 

The Tweed Valley is blessed to have a wide range of activities and experiences for visitors to enjoy, and it is exactly this mix that is key to many businesses. The survey responses highlighted that while mountain biking is, unsurprisingly, important to local businesses, so too are activities such as walking, wildlife watching, plus the arts, cultural and historical experiences.

Such a message reinforces the aim of the Tourism BID to build a business plan that is layered around not just bike-related activities, but also a wide range of other activities that together offer a complete visitor experience.

Building a strong, recognisable Tweed Valley brand is another important theme identified by survey responses, as is promoting that brand through a mix of specific marketing campaigns, online presence and traditional print media such as leaflets and maps for visitors.

Other priorities identified include closer engagement with national tourism bodies to promote the area, plus leveraging the area’s prime geographical position to take better advantage of key transport networks from north and south.

“We’ve received so many good ideas and feedback from this initial survey, with a lot of businesses commenting on the same points and issues,” explained Emma Guy, Project Coordinator for the Tweed Valley Tourism BID. “There is real enthusiasm for driving the tourism product forward in the area and the importance of working collectively to make that happen.”

The survey responses will now be used to help shape the creation of a comprehensive, five-year business plan for the Tourism BID, the initial draft of which will be worked on over the next three months.

Once the business plan is finalised, with further shaping from local tourism businesses, the BID proposal will be put to a vote for all the local businesses that may wish to become part of the project, with a ballot scheduled for Autumn 2019. If approved, the scheme will enable Scottish Borders Council to collect a compulsory levy from all the businesses involved, with the funds invested in delivering the agreed plan.

For much on the Tweed Valley Tourism BID, visit www.gotweedvalley.co.uk

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