The Borders Railway has been hailed as a runaway success story by tourism chiefs, and they are confident it’s full steam ahead for further good fortune in future.
VisitScotland’s international marketing campaign to promote the Borders Railway has reached almost 35 million people over the last two years, yielding a huge tourism boost for the region.
More than 2.6m people have travelled on the Edinburgh-Tweedbank line since it opened in September 2015, and there has been an 8% rise in tourism-related employment in the region over that time.
Riddell Graham, director of partnerships at VisitScotland, said: “The Borders Railway has had a massive impact on the local economy and has encouraged people to come and visit this part of the country from all over the world.
“From the momentous reopening of the historic route by the Queen to this summer’s unique steam train opportunity, the Borders Railway has well and truly captured the attention of the world’s media.
“We want to ensure that the spotlight continues to shine on the regions surrounding the Borders Railway, and the next phase of our international marketing campaign will focus on inspiring overseas visitors from Canada and Germany to make the trip.
“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.”
Lindley Kirkpatrick, head of ScotRail’s Borders Railway programme, said: “The Borders Railway has been an extraordinary success.
“Each and every day thousands of people are travelling to and from the region for work, to study and to catch up with friends and family.
“It has also really opened up this most beautiful part of our country to the tourism market that is so important for our country.
“Businesses are thriving, communities are being strengthened and opportunities are being opened up for people young and old.
“As we continue to build the best railway that Scotland has ever had, we will be looking at more ways to support the line.
“The passenger numbers we have seen in the first two years are really impressive, but we know that this is just the beginning of the story.”
Danny Cusick, chairman of the Borders Railway Blueprint Leaders Group and director of tourism at Scottish Enterprise, said: “We’ve always been confident that the Borders Railway project would deliver real economic opportunities for the area, and the numbers highlight that not only has this proven to be a boost for the local economy but it is fast becoming one of Scotland’s most-loved tourist attractions.
“We will continue to work with the partnership in driving forward new and emerging opportunities for economic development in the region.”
For more information on the Borders Railway, visit www.bordersrailway.co.uk