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Scotland Starts Here New tourism drive launched for the Scottish Borders and Midlothian

Tourism businesses in the Scottish Borders and Midlothian are embarking on a new marketing campaign designed to revolutionise the area’s visitor economy. Launching today (Wednesday 15thJanuary), Scotland Starts Here, a travel inspiration website (www.scotlandstartshere.com) has been created to raise the area’s profile as a year-round tourism destination as well as encouraging more visitors to the Scottish Borders and Midlothian. The website will be supported by a digital marketing campaign including mobile app, podcasts, eBooks, videos, blogs and social media advertising.The Scotland Starts Herecampaign showcases to visitors that it is in the Scottish Borders and Midlothian that Scotland’s identity and soul were born -not only from a location perspective, but also as two areas that have shaped the nation’s history and culture for centuries. Aimed at visitors from the UK, Europe and International markets, the campaign focuses on four key themes of HiddenWonders, Active & Outdoors, Food & Drink and History & Heritage. By putting a spotlight on authentic local experiences and award-winning products and businesses, it will increase potential visitors’ awareness of what the area has to offer for short breaksand holidays. It signals the first phase of a new tourism drive across the areas and the wider South of Scotland.The website also includes a Travel Partners section designed to help Travel Trade Agents build trip itineraries and access marketing information.Scotland Starts Herehas been developed by the Midlothian Borders Tourism Action Group (MBTAG) on behalf of the Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership and Midlothian Tourism Forum. Over the past three years, MBTAG has engaged over 800 businesses in workshops, training and product development to make them more tourism ready. The website and digital activity has been created by The Union and Learn to Love Digital with MBTAG and funded by LEADER and Blueprint.

MBTAG Project Manager Jemma Reid commented: “For many people travelling to Scotland, the Scottish Borders and Midlothian is where their very first experiences, touchpoints and memories of Scotland are forged. Today’s launch plays to this and celebrates the unique history and cultural experiences that our region has to offer. We are easily one of the most accessible, most breathtaking and exciting parts of Scotland and we are thrilled that we can now showcase this to the max and through working with local businesses we can take the Scottish Borders and Midlothian to the world. 2020 is the start of some big things for our local tourism industry!”VisitScotland Regional Director Neil Christison said: “Scotland Starts Here is an exciting campaign that will promote the wealth of fantastic experiences on offer in the Scottish Borders and Midlothian and bring to life the stories and people that make thearea unique. I would encourage the local industry to get involved in the campaign and help spread the word about the fantastic area where they live and work to visitors at home and abroad. “Making Midlothian and the Borders a renowned destination on a global scale is an exciting venture and a fantastic opportunity for Dalkeith Country Park to be part of.We have so much to offer in this wonderful part of Scotland. To have these impressive digital assets to showcase where Scotland Startsto new audiences as well as inspire visitors from around the world is game-changing. We look forward to seeing Midlothian and the Borders thrive as a result.” Remko Plooij, managing director of Dalkeith Country Park.“Scotland Starts Here is the truth! It’s the most honest, authentic and factual campaign ever launched in Scotland -we feel privileged to live and work in this magnificent region and to see the Scotland Starts Here campaign harness all the beauty and vitality represented here makes us proud to call the Borders home.” Andy McKenna, Partner, Go-Where Scotland.

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