Draft business plan published

Runners beneath Neidpath Castle, credit Ian Linton Photography.jpg

Following detailed consultation with a wide range of local tourism businesses, the Tweed Valley Tourism BID Steering Group has published its draft, five-year business plan, which outlines an exciting vision for developing the Tweed Valley into a world-class activity destination. 

As part of presenting the case for developing a Tourism Business Improvement District (BID) for the Tweed Valley, the document provides further detail on how a Tourism BID will benefit local businesses, what priority investments will be made, and which businesses will be involved.

Crucially, it also details the banded scale of levy fees that have been set as a means of ensuring that all tourism businesses, including those owning multiple properties, participate in and contribute to the Tourism BID. The banded levy structure is seen as the most equitable way of funding additional projects that businesses in the area have said they would like to see developed, but which the public sector is not required to provide.

With around 120 participating tourism businesses, it is expected that the levy fees will generate an income of around £80,000 a year, or £400,000 over the five-year period. However, this amount is very much a start rather than an end point as funds raised by private business will be used to leverage match funding from the public sector, as well as maximise joint funding opportunities and ‘in kind’ support that will benefit tourism in the Tweed Valley.

“As a business owner in the Tweed Valley for more than 30 years, I have witnessed the many fluctuations of tourism in this area,” said Catherine Maxwell Stuart from Traquair House, and Chair of the Tweed Valley Tourism BID. “What has been particularly clear is that the Tweed Valley has benefitted significantly from the development of mountain biking, cycling and other outdoor activities which, together, have increased visitor numbers and spawned many new tourism businesses.”

The Steering Group, which consists of representatives from a range of tourism businesses in the Tweed Valley, believes a Tourism BID is the perfect vehicle for further developing the area’s tourism product, adding the kind of focus, energy and resources that will take the Tweed Valley to a whole new level as a destination.

“A Tourism BID will enable local businesses to shape the future of tourism in the area and be at the heart of the decision-making process,” added Catherine. “With local input and support, the Tourism BID will fund and deliver projects that will help businesses grow and secure a strong, sustainable tourism industry for years to come.”

Local tourism businesses are now invited to read through the draft business plan and submit feedback. All comments received will help inform and shape a final, and far more detailed, business plan that will be presented to businesses in June ahead of the Tourism BID ballot scheduled for the Autumn.

The draft business plan has an accompanying list of Frequently Asked Questions which can be read here. Comments on the draft business plan should be sent to Emma Guy, Project Coordinator at tweedvalleyemma@gmail.com by the end of April.

Photo: Runners on the Tweed Valley Tunnel Trail Run beneath Neidpath Castle - Ian Linton Photography

Rich Rowe