Hosts prove to be a boost

while the Borders has suffered from an atrocious summer, there is an indication that the tourist sector may not have suffered as badly as many feared.

Hawick believes that visitor numbers to the town are at much the same level as they were last year.

Chairman of the Welcome Hosts, Jack Yallop, said this week that the incessant rain has done little to deter people from coming to the town.

He said: “This year has seen some of the worst weather conditions and even the hosts can’t counteract this unfortunately.

“But despite the poor weather, so far visitor numbers have been similar to those witnessed in 2011. It’s a shame to see people dodging showers, but reports they have enjoyed their visit show Hawick has something to offer.”

It is the 14th year that the Welcome Hosts have been out 
and about around the town offering friendly advice and information to tourists, and the latest welcome brochure has also proven a huge hit.

Areas of particular interest include the various knitwear outlets as well as the Textile Towerhouse, Heritage Hub, museum and Wilton Lodge Park.

Mr Yallop also revealed that the new campervan parking facility at the Common Haugh, which was introduced this year on a trial basis, has been a huge success.

He said: “This is the first year of this project and so far signs are encouraging that this will 
flourish and bring more visitors to the town.

“Those who have used the facility report their appreciation of the location at the Haugh to spend the night.

“In fact, last week a Dutch couple stayed overnight and went to a Hawick Sings concert. They conveyed their enjoyment to the hosts and stated they have been touring the United Kingdom for four weeks and Hawick is the only place where they have received such a welcome.”

Next year it is hoped the hosts can develop a website as the initiative goes from strength to strength.

“We would like to thank the local support we get and their complimentary remarks are much appreciated,” said Mr Yallop.

The Hawick Welcome Initiative is holding a Scocha concert in the town hall on Saturday, October 20.