Hawick’s Tower Mill to host tourism conference

Tower Mill in Hawick.
Tower Mill in Hawick.

Hawick is hosting this year’s Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership annual conference later this month, and the boss of one of the town’s newest businesses will be among the speakers.

The conference takes place on Thursday, March 23, at Tower Mill, in Kirkstile, and its theme will be collaboration and connectivity.

The Borders Distillery site in Commercial Road, Hawick.

The Borders Distillery site in Commercial Road, Hawick.

The aim of the day will be to give businesses reliant on tourism ideas about how they can exploit recent growth in visitor numbers to the region.

John Fordyce, one of the founders of the Three Stills Company, the firm behind the £13m Borders Distillery due to open in Hawick’s Commercial Road later this year, is among the speakers lined up to offer advice.

He will be joined by VisitScotland marketing director Charlie Smith, North Highland Initiative chief executive Tom Campbell and Robert Kennedy, managing director of Castle Douglas-based booking system specialist Supercontrol, plus representatives of the Midlothian and Borders Tourism Action Group and Scottish Borders Winter Festival.

Their talks will offer an overview on what’s happening within the wider Scottish tourism industry, including examples of best practice from around the country.

There will also be opportunities for networking and to visit a showcase of local business exhibitors.

Carol Ann Houghton, chairperson of the Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership, said: “There isa real groundswell of excitement and enthusiasm within our local tourism industry atthe moment.

“With visitor numbers growing, increased investment and lots of business innovation and diversification under way, this year’s conference aims to help us all realise our potential and take the sector from strength to strength.

“We’re urging all tourism businesses, big or small to come along and see how they can maximise the opportunity.”

Mr Smith added: “I am delighted to be taking part in this year’s Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership conference.

“As recent figures show, the opening of the Borders Railway has had a major impact on the local area.

“We want to ensure that we continue to build on this success by helping to support businesses to make the most of the opportunities for greater collaboration and digital promotion that exist in the Scottish Borders today.”

Delegate tickets, priced £25, can be bought at www.scottishborderstourismpartnership.co.uk/sbtpevents

The conference is being sponsored by insurance broker Bruce Stevenson’s Galashiels office, Scotrail, Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce, Scottish Borders Council and Supercontrol.

For further details, email Vicki Steel at Vicki@aikwoodtower.com

The tourism partnership is an umbrella association founded in 2005 for all tourism businesses in the Borders made up of 450-plus mainly private-sector companies working with VisitScotland, the council, the Forestry Commission and Business Gateway to promote their industry.