Trails tourism drive hopes to pull in £5m to Hawick

An online platform aimed at boosting tourism in Hawick could bring in more than £5m a year for the region’s economy.

By Kathryn Wylie
Thursday, 27th February 2020, 10:52 am
The footbridge from Hawick's Albert Road to High Street.
The footbridge from Hawick's Albert Road to High Street.

That’s the hope of business bosses behind the Town of 1,000 Trails project currently being created.

They are creating a website and app aimed at highlighting the town as a place with an abundance of trails for visitors to walk, cycle, run or ride horses along.

And while it’s still a way off launching, local businessman Andrew Dobbie says things are progressing well.

“I am one of eight people that have been bringing this project forward since 2017,” he said. “We are fairly driven, and we will not let this down.

“We have come across a few obstacles to get to this stage, but we are getting ever closer to the point of rolling out.”

It is hoped the £60,000 initiative will stop the town trailing behind rival destinations in the tourism stakes, with the new website set to offer visitors links to accommodation, eateries and other attractions.

As with TripAdvisor, users will be able to leave reviews to highlightr favourite trails and flag up those needing work.

Visitors will also be able to upload photos of their trips to populate the site with visual guides for fellow tourists or create their own trails and give them names.

Mr Dobbie, of the Dobbie and Michie carpet shop in High Street, added: “It is hoped that in the first and second year, we can build up to have a free listing on offer to Hawick businesses too.

“We are now at the stage of looking for content to include from anybody who may want to be part of the platform.

“Hawick businesses can be included in the playing, eating and staying sections of the site and a what’s on section might be added at a later date.

“We are working on a five-year funded project and are looking at advertising models at the moment, including pay-per-lick adverts based on how prominently they feature.

“In the first five-year period from whenever we launch, based on a 1% increase per year on what we are making at the moment, £5m will be the input to the economy.

“We think we will generate quite a bit more than that, though.”