SNP MSP Karen Adam held the second virtual meeting of her ambitious initiative, ‘Making the Most of the Coast: Tourism Forum’ earlier this month.
The Forum brings together local businesses and organisations from the constituency of Banffshire & Buchan Coast to boost and sustain tourism across the area.
Stakeholders of Ms Adam’s Tourism Forum welcomed leaders of the Campaign for North East Rail (CNER). Attendees were able to pose questions to CNER on the viability of the campaign and what benefits bringing rail back to the towns could bring.
The Banffshire & Buchan Coast politician has been vocal in her support of bringing rail back to Buchan and has described the prospect as “realistic” if it gets enough public backing.
She said: “The Campaign for North East Rail have set out clear proposals for how we can achieve bringing rail back to Peterhead and Fraserburgh, and I am fully supportive of this initiative. It’s made the idea of rail an achievable and realistic prospect for the towns and surrounding areas but it’s important as many of us are vocal in our support of this to showcase there is public demand.
“The tourism potential alone is transformational. By connecting a large part of the North East this will open up our beautiful coastline to so many more travellers looking to spend money and see the best of what Scotland has to offer - but not only that - of course rail works both ways. Therefore, the people living and working here will also benefit from the easy access to the rest of the country’s rail network and the benefits of accessibility that will bring.
“Peterhead and Fraserburgh are Scotland’s two largest towns that don’t have any rail links but our economic contribution is huge through use of our ports alone.”
Ainsley Dyga, Chair of the Broch Business Together Association and owner of R & S Dyga’s Newsagents in Fraserburgh said: “At first I was very sceptical about the rail link thinking it was a very pie in the sky idea which would never happen but after being on the meeting last week I’m more positive this will go forward.
“It will provide a greater reach for the public and along with improved transportation links will open up a whole new avenue of tourists for the area.
"There will need to be things put in place for this to happen and there will be disruption but I think the bigger goal is definitely worth it.
“Easing congestion with taking freight off the roads and lowering carbon emissions can all only be a good thing.
"Here’s hoping it all takes shape very soon.”
Tina Gibbins from Ban-Car Hotel in Lonmay added: “I would definitely favour the North East Railway line through Peterhead and then up to Fraserburgh.
"We always feel that the North East corner is forgotten about and it has so much to offer.
“For the hotel and the area it would definitely bring more tourists. It would undeniably lessen traffic, especially by reducing freight from the roads.”