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SNP MSP Emma Harper has hailed the success of the “North Coast 500” (NC500) tourist route which covers 500 miles of the north of Scotland, starting and finishing in Inverness, and is calling for the possibility of a long-distance tourist route for Dumfries & Galloway to be considered to help boost visitor numbers and attract more people to the region.
Ms Harper’s call was supported by SNP Councillor Iain Dick, who had previously successfully proposed that Dumfries & Galloway Council develop a new tourist route featuring the region’s coast.
“The North Coast 500 has only been in existence for a short time and has already proved to be a real success in drawing more people to visit the far north of Scotland, increasing visitor tourist numbers and providing a valuable boost to a remote, largely rural economy.
“I am keen that in Dumfries & Galloway we should look at whether we could replicate the success of the North Coast 500 with a route of our own, not to steal tourists and businesses from the north, but because I’m certain that people who’ve completed one long-distance route will want to find another one.
“I recognise that devising such a route would probably be more challenging, not least because there’s just so much to do and see in Dumfries & Galloway, but I am certain that it would bring significant benefits to the region and help boost our profile both within Scotland and further afield.
“Ours is a unique and special part of Scotland, which I have always been convinced can be every bit as attractive to visitors some of Scotland’s better known tourist attractions.
“Every journey has to start somewhere, so I want to make contact with organisations and businesses who might be interested in helping to devise, promote and market a long-distance driving route through Dumfries & Galloway to see how we might develop this idea into a fully-fledged proposal.”
Cllr Iain Dick added:
“I am grateful for Emma’s initiative. I would love to see the creation of a tourist route round the coast of Dumfries and Galloway, which can also direct visitors to the Historic Scotland Sites and villages and towns of this Region. In my opinion this is also the most beautiful coastline in all of Scotland and I believe these two ideas could join up easily and make a real contribution to how we promote Dumfries & Galloway as a fantastic place to visit.”