Warm welcome helping boost Hawick’s tourism trade

Derick Tait of Future Hawick.
Derick Tait of Future Hawick.
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Traders in Hawick benefited from footfall of more than 5,000 visitors generated by a community-led initiative this year.

Community group Future Hawick took over the running of the scheme for greeting tourists last year, and it has hailed this summer as a successful one business-wise.

The group employs welcome hosts as part of its Hawick Welcome initiative, and at the latest meeting of the town’s community council, it reported that they welcomed 5,174 visitors this summer, up from 4,579 the year before.

Those visitors have each been met by hosts and provided with information on where to eat, sleep or shop.

Future Hawick chairman Derick Tait said: “We had 5,174 visitors in coaches to the town, and that’s more than just a trickle.

“We’ve got an extra 20 coaches coming to the town now. We identified the Waverley Castle Hotel in Melrose as a source of visitors last year, and our meeting with them has certainly paid off.”

Mr Tait also pointed to the success of the scheme, budgeted at just under £16,000 a year, in attracting motorhome owners to the town.

“Almost 40% of the campervans which came to the town this year have been to Hawick before and were planning to come back,” he said.

“The campervan welcome is amazingly well known across Europe, and the number of visitors we receive through that is quite phenomenal.

“They know that the Common Haugh car park is free, and long may that continue.

“Campers are welcomed by hosts and nobody had a problem with that. In fact, it’s all very positive as far as that is concerned.

“It cost just under £16,000 to run the hosts initiative this year, and we’re delighted with the way the hosts have worked for the town.”