Smash Success for A Taste of Borders Tourism

A Tourism and Hospitality event, A Taste of Borders Tourism, organised by Local MSP Rachael Hamilton, Borders College, Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Borders and Midlothian Borders Tourism Action Group (MBTAG) went down a treat with local students.

The event that welcomed 152 pupils from secondary schools across the Borders to Kelso Racecourse educated the invitees to learn more about the vast array of opportunities in the Tourism and Hospitality sector and encourage them to consider it as a rewarding career.

The event highlighted what skills are needed to succeed in the sector and also what skills the sector is short of.

The Scottish Borders is currently experiencing a skills gap in the Tourism & Hospitality sector despite being a key contributor to the local economy and one of the strongest in Scotland. It is estimated that tourism contributes around £20 million to the Borders economy.

The event was kindly sponsored by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, Rabbie’s Tours Scotland, Kelso Racecourse and DYW Borders.

Organisations taking part in the event were:

  • Born in the Borders.
  • Firebrick Brasserie.
  • Visit Scotland.
  • Barony Castle.
  • Buccleuch Arms.
  • Carfraemill.
  • Borders College.
  • MBTAG.
  • Provender Melrose.


Rachael Hamilton MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire said:

‘Firstly, many thanks to all who sponsored and helped make this event happen. The Scottish Borders is proud to have one of the strongest Tourism & Hospitality sectors in Scotland and it is right that we celebrate it and work to make it stronger.

‘The sector is facing a skills shortage challenge. However, we have incredibly talented young persons who can fill these shortages and actually help improve and grow the sector.

‘The young people of the Scottish Borders can and will make a tremendous contribution to our local economy and we should support them to do just that. This event has highlighted the talent we have in our young persons. It is time to cultivate that talent and work together to see not only the Tourism & Hospitality sector grow, but also the Scottish Borders economy grow as a whole.

Alexandra Richards from Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers added:

‘Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers are delighted to have supported this inspiring event.  It highlighted that a career in Hospitality & Tourism in the Scottish Borders is not just about working in a hotel or restaurant.  If you are interested in digital marketing, filming, advertising, logistics, management, entrepreneurship and even insurance and risk management – all these roles can and need to be fulfilled in the Hospitality & Tourism Sector in the Scottish Borders with enthusiastic young people who are passionate about where they come from and want to showcase the Scottish Borders to the rest of the world.

‘We are proud to be sponsors of Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) Scotland who have provided over 1,200 scholarships and more than 10,000 bursaries to nurture and support the development of local, emerging Scottish talent within the hospitality industry.  Today’s interactive event delivered by Scottish Borders organisations played a really important and vital role in helping young people understand what opportunities are out there for them.’

Bruce Stevenson sponsoring Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership Conference

The team at Bruce Stevenson are delighted to be sponsoring and exhibiting at the SBTP Conference 2017.

Annual SBTP Conference focuses on Sector Collaboration & Connectivity Tourism businesses across the Borders are being invited to attend the annual Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership (SBTP) Conference on Thursday 23rd March at the Tower Mill in Hawick.

Following last year’s sell-out attendance, this year’s Conference theme is ‘Collaboration & Connectivity: Moving the Borders Forward’. The day sets out to explore how businesses can capitalise and build on the recent growth in visitor numbers and investments within the tourism sector.

Businesses will hear from an exciting speaker line-up including:

  • Charlie Smith, VisitScotland
  • Tom Campbell, North Highland Initiative & North Coast 500
  • The Midlothian & Borders Tourism Action Group
  • Scottish Borders Winter Festival
  • John Fordyce, The Borders Distillery
  • Robert Kennedy, Supercontrol

The talks will present a view on what’s happening within the wider Scottish tourism industry, include some examples of best practice from around the country as well as what’s happening with new local initiatives. There will also be opportunities for networking and to visit a showcase of local business exhibitors.

Details of the Conference follow the publication of data which revealed that tourism in the Borders has received a major boost since the introduction of the Borders Railway. In January 2017, the Scottish Tourism Economic Assessment Monitor (STEAM) statistics showed a significant improvement in key tourism performance figures in the first half of 2016, compared to the first half of 2015 when the railway was not yet open.

  • The number of visitor days in hotels and bed and breakfasts has risen by 27%
  • There has been a 20% rise in visitor spend on food and drink
  • Visitor spend on accommodation is up 17%
  • 16% rise in overall visitor spend
  • The number of days visitors stayed in the Borders has increased by almost 11
    per cent
  • 8%  increase in employment related to tourism

Carol Ann Houghton, Chair of The Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership, said:

“There is a real groundswell of excitement and enthusiasm within our local tourism industry at the moment. With visitor numbers growing, increased investment and lots of business innovation and diversification underway, 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.”

VisitScotland Director of Marketing, Charlie Smith said:

“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 can be purchased in advance from