Pulling power is going to pay off for Falkirk

The Falkirk Wheel attracts tourists from all over the world
The Falkirk Wheel attracts tourists from all over the world

Scotland has been named one of the top three places in the world to visit during 2014. And capitalising on the prospective boom is a priority for those involved in the tourism industry across the district.

Although the ‘house full’ signs have already gone up at some hotels for key periods, more is still being done to promote the entire area. They want as many people living locally to make use of what is on their doorstep and have drawn up a Tourism Plan to take this forward.

Councillor Adrian Mahoney, Falkirk Council’s tourism spokesman, said 2014 promised to be an exciting one for Scotland with several major events putting the country on the international stage.

He said: “Falkirk district – with new attractions and special events – is well placed to capitalise on this special year. Our new tourism plan, shaped with our partners, sets out our vision for the year ahead. Hopefully visitors – and local people – will enjoy all the things we have lined up.”

Liz Buchanan, regional director of VisitScotland, said: “Falkirk has an important role to play in its contribution to Scottish tourism this year. There is so much opportunity with Scotland in the global spotlight hosting Homecoming 2014, the Commonwealth Games, the MTV EMA awards and the Ryder Cup.”

Delighted at the growth in his business, Steven McLeod, chief executive of the Aurora Hotel Collection, said: “All our hotels are conveniently located in central Scotland with great transport links, so they’re ideally placed to attract people and this has certainly been reflected in the level of enquiries and confirmed bookings.

“Enquiries for this summer started to come through almost as soon as the Ryder Cup was confirmed and there has been a steady increase since then, particularly in the last month or two. Airth Castle and the Cairn Lodge & Hotel in Auchterarder are already fully booked for the Ryder Cup and have a waiting list; and our newest property, Hotel Colessio, which will open its doors in May, only has a few rooms left to sell.

“We’re beginning to see a pick-up in enquiries for the Commonwealth Games and Homecoming, and this is starting to translate into bookings; I’m confident that this trend will continue and there is no doubt that these landmark events are having a positive impact on our business and the local economy.”

Forth Valley College’s tourism lecturer Paul Banks keeps a close eye on the situation. He said: “This coming year presents a number of opportunities for businesses in the Falkirk area to tap into the extra visitors likely to flock to central Scotland in the coming months.

“In Forth Valley we can look forward to National Armed Forces Day in Stirling and the Battle of Bannockburn anniversary both in June, closely followed by the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and then the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles along with Year of Homecoming all year.

“These are events not just of national importance, but one which will put the whole of Scotland and particularly the central belt in the international spotlight.”

“This gives us an ideal chance to showcase to the world just what we have to offer. The fact that two 15-foot exact models of the Kelpies will be on display in Bryant Park in central New York City during Tartan Week will also boost interest in the area across the Atlantic.”