Glentress Forest is to benefit from a £1 million funding package which will see the creation of 16 kilometres of new mountain biking trails and bring in thousands of extra visitors every year.
The Scottish Government said it was to provide the money to create the trails at the Borders mountain biking site, alongside a network of multi-use paths and other infrastructure improvements which are part of a wider 56 eco-cabin development at the forest. It said the investment has the potential to generate an extra £1 million into the local economy each year, employ up to 60 people and increase visitors to Glentress Forest from 300,000 to 330,000 by 2022.
Sallie Bailey, regional manager with Forest Enterprise Scotland, said: “This is great news for the Tweed Valley and the Scottish Borders as a whole. Work is now in progress to take forward these exciting new developments at Glentress and in the next two years we will see a real step change in what we offer visitors to the area.
“This has been an excellent partnership project right from the very start, involving local stakeholders in its development. We are thrilled at the prospect of raising the game of forest tourism in the Scottish Borders.”
Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said: “Today’s announcement is reflective of the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting the growth of our tourism industry, and highlights the understanding of much needed need in Scotland’s tourism product if we are to strengthen and shape a vibrant tourism industry for the future.
“This is great news for the south of Scotland, an area where there is huge potential for tourism and the partnership project is an excellent example of public and private sectors working together to strengthen Scotland’s position as a global tourism destination.”
The overall £11.75mtourism development is being managed in a partnership between Forest Enterprise Scotland and Forest Holidays which is providing the private sector investment. These new facilities mark the latest stage of the implementation of the Glentress Masterplan, which received planning consent from Scottish Borders Council in March 2018.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Tourism is one of our most important industries, showcasing Scotland as a great place to live, work, study and invest in so I’m delighted this support will draw thousands of new visitors to the south of Scotland.”