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Tourism boost for Scottish Borders' abbeys

Melrose Abbey Credit: PA

There has been a six percent increase in footfall at historic abbeys in the Scottish Borders.

Over the last 11 months a record-breaking four million people have visited historical sites across Scotland.

Together Melrose, Jedburgh and Dryburgh Abbeys welcomed more than 90,000 visitors, an increase of six percent on the same period last year.

Top of the trio of historic staffed attractions in the Scottish Borders was the medieval Melrose Abbey, which saw footfall increase to 49,566, a jump of around eight percent year-on-year.

That makes it the tenth most visited staffed attraction in Scotland.

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Borders Railway boosts local tourism

Borders Railway Credit: PA

The Borders Railway has helped to boost tourism across the Scottish Borders, according to Visit Scotland.

Regional Director Doug Wilson says that the re-establishment of the Borders Railway has had a huge impact on the number of visitors coming to the south of Scotland.

"More than one million people travelled on the Borders Railway during its first year of operation and going by train on the route has created a superb new tourism experience in itself.

"The re-establishment of the route has had a massive impact on tourism and right across the region, and it shows no signs of slowing down. VisitScotland recently held a successful industry conference in Galashiels, bringing together tourism experts and local businesses to help ensure that together we continue to capitalise on the opportunities that now exist due to increased connectivity and greater visitor numbers."

– Doug Wilson, Visit Scotland

The Borders Book Festival, the Tour of the Borders and the Flying Scotsman returning to the region also contributed to the rise in visitor numbers.

Record numbers were also reached by people attending the Borders Heritage Festival and the Borders Book Festival.

"It is great to see the success of a new festival like the Creative Coathanger, celebrating the region's ties to the textile and creative arts industry. And I was pleased to see the partnership working that helped create the first ever Scottish Borders Winter Festival this December - I know that a great amount of effort goes into making these events a success, many run by local volunteers.

"I would encourage people working in the tourism industry in the Scottish Borders to make the most of the opportunities available from VisitScotland."

– Doug Wilson, Visit Scotland

WATCH: Attracting Americans to the Scottish Borders

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A new video showcasing the best of the Scottish Borders has been created by Visit Scotland.

It's part of a three-year campaign to market the Borders Railway internationally, and put the new 100-mile track on the map.

This video is specifically geared towards attracting more visitors from the United States.

At Visit Scotland we've identified the US market as our biggest single market. We're doing the video to attract people to show them the stunning scenery that's available in the Borders and some of the attractions across the region."

– Doug Wilson, Regional Director Visit Scotland

Melrose Abbey in Top 10 Scottish man-made wonders

Melrose Abbey listed among the best man-made buildings in Scotland Credit: PA

Melrose Abbey has been named in the top 10 of Scotland's best man-made wonders.

A survey conducted by Visit Scotland put the 12th century building on the same list at the Forth Bridge, Edinburgh Castle and the Kelpies.

The Abbey is the final resting place of the heart of the medieval King Robert the Bruce.

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Tourism trade improves since A591 reopening

Tourism businesses along one of the Lake District's main roads say trade has improved significantly since it re-opened just over a week ago.

The A591 closed due to damage caused by December's floods. A stretch of the road between Keswick and Grasmere collapsed during Storm Desmond.

Katie Hunter reports from a classic car event held to celebrate its re-opening.

'Phenomenal difference' for businesses as A591 opens

Heaton Cooper Studio Credit: Heaton Cooper Studio

The re-opening of a flood-damaged Lake District road has made a "phenomenal difference" to businesses, local communities have told ITV Border.

Becky Heaton Cooper, who runs the Heaton Cooper Studio and art gallery in Grasmere, says her business was hit hard by the five month closure of the A591.

But she says the re-opening of the road has given her business an immediate boost.

There has been a phenomenal difference. It's like someone has turned a light back on.

– Becky Heaton Cooper

Tourism businesses host A591 reopening celebrations

The A591 re-opened on May 11th Credit: ITV News Border

Tourism businesses are hosting a series of celebrations today to mark the official reopening of the A591.

The road between Keswick and Grasmere collapsed due to flooding during Storm Desmond in December. It reopened last week and businesses are now keen to promote the area.

Celebrations include a vintage car display and a children's poetry reading.

"The closure of the A591 following Storm Desmond had a terrible impact on local residents and local businesses, but the good news is that the road is now fixed.

"This event is about sending the message loud and clear that Cumbria is back 'open for business'.

"I'd like to thank all those who have helped to organise this event, as well as those who have contributed funding, in particular South Lakeland District Council."

– Tim Farron MP, South Lakes, Lib Dem
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