The Borders Railway has got the write stuff, according to the judges of a national competition.
The Edinburgh-Tweedbank track has landed another tourism award to add to its growing collection, this latest one having been handed out by the British Guild of Travel Writers.
The guild is regarded as the leading organisation for travel media professionals in the UK, so this plaudit is a welcome second birthday present for the £353m track, opened in September 2015.
The railway was nominated as last year’s best tourism project in the UK or Ireland by travel writer Vivien Devlin and came out on top at a ceremony at the Savoy Hotel in London.
That award was presented to ScotRail Alliance Borders Railway programme executive Lindley Kirkpatrick at the 30-mile line’s Tweedbank terminus by Vivien, of Edinburgh, and she said: “The vision, development and construction of the Borders Railway is an extraordinary achievement – the revival of a sustainable transport service connecting people and places.
“Most importantly, this is a vital, accessible tourism destination initiative for visitors to explore this area of the country.”
Lindley said: “We’re delighted the Borders Railway has picked this prestigious award.
“The Borders Railway has been huge success, opening up a wealth of opportunities for the area.
“We look forward to continuing our close work with the local communities, businesses and stakeholders to support the vision of making the Borders region a great place to live, work, study and visit.”
Mid Berwickshire councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for business and economic development, said: “It is great to hear the Borders Railway has received the title of best UK and Ireland tourism project 2016, thanks to Vivien Devlin’s excellent nomination.
“The railway has certainly made significant changes to tourism in the Borders, making it easier than ever to access the wide variety of attractions the area has to offer and helping to create jobs.
“The Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor tourism figures issued earlier this year highlight the major boost the Borders Railway has provided, with visitor spending 16% up in the first six months of 2016 compared to the first half of 2015 before the railway opened.”
Riddell Graham, director of partnerships at VisitScotland, said: “We are delighted that the Borders Railway has received this prestigious award.
“From breathtaking historic attractions to unique shops, accommodation and eateries, visitors have been hopping on board in their thousands to experience all that Edinburgh, Midlothian and the Scottish Borders have to offer.
“The railway has been a phenomenal success, and this award recognises the attention it has captured around the world.
“Scotland’s reputation as a quality destination relies on continued investment and innovation to ensure the current provision meets future demand, and the success of the Borders Railway shows just how important this is.”