People visiting Dumfries & Galloway to see the region’s red kites have contributed over £8.2m to the local economy, a new report has found.
Red kites were re-introduced to an area north of Castle Douglas starting in 2001, and the Galloway Kite Trail, which is a partnership project led by RSPB Scotland, was launched in 2003.
Between 2004 and 2015, the trail attracted over 100,000 visitors and supported, on average, the equivalent of 19 full-time jobs in the local area every year, with that figure rising to 21 jobs in 2015.
The Galloway Kite Trail is a self-guided tour circling Loch Ken, taking visitors to some of the best locations to see kites, as well as promoting activities and services provided by local businesses.
An economic survey carried out annually by the RSPB between 2004 and 2015 found that visitors to the trail have spent an estimated £54.6m in Dumfries and Galloway, with £8.2m directly attributable to people visiting the area to see the kites.
The survey also found that almost 70 per cent of respondents had travelled to the area from outside Scotland, with two thirds visiting Dumfries and Galloway for the first time.