Dundee has been urged not to rest on its laurels after its long-awaited V&A museum opens – after being hailed by tourism leaders as the new “star of the Scottish travel scene.”
VisitScotland said new attractions, events and campaigns would be needed to fully capitalise on the arrival of the £80.1 million attraction.
The Scottish Government’s tourism agency said the city’s biggest challenge would be keeping visitors in Dundee for “multiple nights” in future.
But it said the city was in a “unique position” to grow its cultural offer after securing the only V&A museum outside of London and called on it to capitalise on its potential to offer a “modern take on our nation” due to its track record in innovation and design.
The museum, which is being unveiled by its Japanese architect Kengo Kuma this week, is expected to generate £11.6m for the economy each year.
Caroline Warburton, regional leadership director at VisitScotland, said: “Dundee’s tourism offering has grown incredibly in the last decade. In the past few years alone we’ve welcomed several new accommodation providers, restaurants, tours and events.
“However, in order to ensure visitors continue to return time and time again, we can’t rest on our laurels. The city must continue to develop its tourism offering, creating new products and growing existing businesses. Ensuring there’s enough to keep visitors in the city will be key.
“As home to the only V&A museum outside of London, Dundee is in a unique position to grow its cultural offering. V&A Dundee offers an introduction to over 500 years of brilliance, ingenuity and achievement in Scottish creativity and the best examples of design from around the world.
“Dundee can look to continue growing this sector, offering additional cultural experiences that keep visitors in the city. With its innovative thinking and iconic design, Dundee can offer visitors a different view of Scotland, a modern take on our nation.”
Pete Irvine, editor of the Scotland the Best travel guide, who advised Dundee on its UK and European culture capital bids, said its V&A was a new symbol of Scotland to rate alongside Edinburgh Castle, the Forth Bridge and the Scottish Parliament building.
He said: “Audiences have high expectations and the expectation about Dundee has built up quite a lot over the last few months. There is a lot riding on the V&A. But there is a renewed energy in Dundee and it also has a world-class hinterland – it’s not just a waterfront city. It’s also small and easy to get around is quite unique in that has lots of open spaces.
“Dundee’s been a bit overshadowed by Edinburgh and Glasgow in recent decades but now there is a real opportunity to do something about that.
There was previously really only one contemporary hotel in Dundee that I could recommend. There are suddenly five – that’s as encouraging as anything else.”
Gillian Easson, executive director of the Creative Dundee network, said: “The V&A is an incredible opportunity for the city, although we know it’s not one venue’s responsibility to change the entire perception of the city, it’s up to us collectively to ensure that citizens and visitors benefit from the city and the wider area’s brilliant offer and natural surroundings.
“Dundee has sometimes fallen into the shadows of the larger cities, however its scale and location offers something pretty unrivalled by other cities – big doesn’t always mean better – and as a small, liveable city, we’ve had to pull together and work collaboratively.”