Tourism boost for the Borders

There's encouraging economic news from the Scottish Borders.

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Shoppers say they like the "variety" in Border towns

Melrose High Street Credit: ITV Border

Visitors to Melrose say they enjoy spending time in Border towns, because they like the variety of smaller, independent shops.

An annual survey suggests visitor numbers are up in the region for the first time in four years

Melrose and Jedburgh have seen the biggest increase in footfall, whilst Hawick and Peebles have seen a drop in visitor numbers.

Councillor Stuart Bell from Scottish Borders Council says they have noticed increased footfall in areas where town centre improvements have been carried out.

He said:

"We have put some effort into improvements in Melrose for example, and there are some local traders that are providing a good specialty service to the customers.

"The traders themselves have got together to organise events, to encourage people to shop in the towns.

"We are looking at the classifications of what we call prime retail frontage, which attract shoppers into the town centre, to see how we can attract more visitors."

Increase in Scottish Borders tourism

There's encouraging economic news from the Scottish Borders.

In its annual report, the local council says it has seen a slight increase in the number of people visiting towns there.

A one percent increase for the previous year, compares with successive decline over the past two years of 7.9 and 7.6 per cent across the region.

A growth in so called footfall was noted this year in all town centres except Hawick and Peebles.

“Whilst there are significant challenges and pressures faced by our town centres from the economic downturn and the rise in the use of internet shopping, this survey does give some grounds for hope.

“The Council is very conscious of the vital role that our town centres play in the economic and social life of the Borders and will continue to promote projects aimed at improving their future prospects.

"Projects have included town centre improvements in Melrose and Galashiels, and there are town heritage projects in Kelso and Selkirk being taken forward.”

– Councillor Stuart Bell, Executive Member for Economic Development, Scottish Borders Council

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