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Scottish Borders Council endorses plan to boost cycling tourism

The Scottish Borders is already proud of what it has to offer to cyclists.

Its roads have hosted the Tour of Britain on a number of occasions while its forest trails are recognised as some of the best in the country.

Events including TweedLove, the Tour o’ the Borders and the Enduro World Series have also boosted its profile.

Now the local authority has endorsed a five-year strategy which it hopes will ensure it is recognised as one of the UK’s premier cycling destinations.

But how do they hope to achieve that goal?

Improve quality

A look at existing infrastructure throughout the region will aim to identify key areas for improvement.

This could include better signage and upgrades to routes in the area.

Market research is also to be undertaken to identify target markets and economic value specific to the Scottish Borders.

At present there are no accurate figures on what share the region takes of the tens of millions of pounds coming to Scotland through cycling tourism.

A clear figure would allow targets to become “meaningful and measurable”.

“Little or no data exists specifically for the Scottish Borders, and this has been identified as a key issue going forward,” concluded the strategy.

“Small pockets of data exist from a range of stakeholders but not enough to provide a complete picture.”

Event development

The Scottish Borders is already home to a number of major events but it hopes to bring in even more.

A budget of £50,000 has been set aside to help promote it as a host for new international and national competitions.

The possibility of working with the Borders Railway to help support any events is also being explored.

“The growth in the number of cycling events continues to help raise the profile and provide plenty of content for social media,” reported the strategy.

“In short, the area has a wealth of cycle tourism assets, albeit there are superior trails, events, road surfaces and infrastructure to be found elsewhere.”

Raising profile

A dedicated marketing campaign hopes to increase awareness of the Borders as a cycling tourism destination.

Work to regularly update a website for cycling in the region is also highlighted as being an important element alongside related social media promotion.

Updated photography to show the region in its best light is also planned.

“This strategy has identified that the region has very good cycling assets in the shape of routes, trails, services and of course events, but they are currently under-promoted in what is an increasingly competitive environment,” the report found.

“There is a need for the development of a brand to cover all of the cycling assets in the region.”

What has it got?

There are hundreds of miles of cycling routes on mainly quiet roads across the Borders, including a good range of long distance routes.

They include:

  • The 250-mile long Borderloop
  • A 55-mile route linking four abbeys
  • The Tweed Cycle Route at 95 miles
  • The Coast and Castles Route through Berwickshire
  • The Southern Borders Loop linking Hawick and Newcastleton

It also has a wide range of shorter trails as well as world-class mountain biking with the 7stanes at Glentress, Innerleithen and Newcastleton.

Source: BBC Website

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