Major new investment has been pledged for Dundee on the back of its V&A museum opening to transform it into one of Scotland’s top tourism destinations.
The Scottish Government has vowed to help the city become an ideal new short break or holiday destination within the next few years.
It has pledged to build on the “V&A effect” which has already seen new hotels, bars and restaurants open up in the run-up to the opening of the museum, and ensure that the city’s creative sector and cultural sectors thrive.
The value of the tourism industry to Dundee is already on the rise, with the latest figures showing an increase of nearly 10 per cent in overnight visitors, while business tourism said to have soared by 7.4 per cent over the same period.
However the government says it wants to work with the local authority and industry bodies to ensure Dundee fully capitalises on the success of the arrival of its V&A museum, which has been predicted to generate £11.6 million for the city’s economy each year.
A key priority will be reversing the long-term decline in Dundee’s population, which has slumped from around 180,000 in 1971 to 150,000.
Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop has predicted the £80.1m museum will be a “magnet” for the regeneration of the city and will help project Scotland as a “progressive, pioneering and dynamic nation.”
But she said “ambitious” new proposals for Dundee were currently under consideration in the Tay Cities Deal proposals submitted to ministers last year. The UK and Scottish governments are expected to outline a spending package in the next few months, however as many as 15,000 new jobs have been predicted across Dundee, Angus, Fife, and Perthshire.
Among the major Dundee projects put forward are the transformation of a former printworks building into a culture and creative industries hub, new-look attractions promoting historic ships Unicorn and Discovery, overhauls for Dundee Contemporary Arts and Dundee Science Centre, a cruise liner terminal and an aviation academy.
Other projects to emerge more recently include a 6,000-capacity concert arena and conference centre, and a new purpose-built home for Dundee Rep.
Ms Hyslop said: “Since work on V&A Dundee started, progress has been unprecedented for the city and the waterfront area is in the process of being completely transformed. From increased public participation and community engagement to new hospitality investment by Apex, Malmaison and Hilton, V&A Dundee has helped enhance the profile of the city, fostering growth and attracting public and private investment in retail, leisure and hospitality.
“The ‘V&A effect’ can already be witnessed, with many new hotels being booked almost to capacity and new restaurants and shops opening within the city centre and beyond. Confidence is growing on all levels, and it is anticipated this will draw in further new investment in the years to come.
“We are committed to ensuring that the welcome boost the V&A opening has given to the city and the positive effect of the wider waterfront regeneration project can continue.
“In the next years, our priority will be to make sure that Dundee’s economy and creative sector can continue to thrive.
“We are committed to ensuring Dundee and surrounding areas continue to work together to develop a wider and more coherent visitor’s offer in the coming years, so that people in Scotland and elsewhere increasingly see the city as a top tourist destination—ideal for a city break or a longer holiday, and not just a day out.
With the vast majority of Scotland’s population living within only a 90 minute drive of Dundee, the city is right at the heart of Scotland. We’re keen to continue to engage with all parties involved—from the Council to local businesses to industry and public bodies—to ensure Dundee capitalises on the success of the V&A and attracts tourists from further afield, while ensuring appropriate infrastructure and hospitality options are in place.
“We’ll continue to work towards creating and supporting employment and investment opportunities in Dundee and the Tay region so that the area can continue to prosper.”