Speaking in a debate to mark Scottish Tourism Month 2022, South Scotland SNP MSP Emma Harper last week highlighted the fantastic resources Dumfries and Galloway has to offer and paid tribute to the many hard working tourism businesses across the region who she said have “worked tirelessly to provide world class services to people across the region, and who have worked hard to overcome the additional challenges of the pandemic”.

Ms Harper thanked hard-working organisations – South Scotland Destination Alliance, VisitScotland and South Scotland Enterprise – for the work they have been doing to support the region’s tourism businesses, including by helping business to access crucial Covid-19 support.

As a representative of Scotland’s “bonniest regions, the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway”, Ms Harper said she was proud to shine a light on the south with its beautiful scenery, world-class food and drink, outdoor pursuits and the enormous contribution the area makes to Scotland’s national environment and tourism economy.

Ms Harper highlighted the Southern Upland Way, Scotland’s only official coast-to-coast long-distance footpath, the 7Stanes mountain biking biking trails, the internationally recognised Galloway Dark Sky Park, the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere. She also highlighted the Stranraer Water Sports Association who are developing the Stranraer waterfront.

The South Scotland MSP also made a plug in for Dumfries, as Queen of the South, to achieve City Status as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations. This bid has the potential to bring economic investment to the region, as was seen when Perth, Stirling and Inverness achieved City Status.

Commenting, Ms Harper said:

“During the debate on Scottish Tourism Month I took the opportunity to highlight the fantastic tourist businesses, and our amazing resources, our South Scotland Region has to offer. I also acknowledged the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our region’s tourism businesses and thanked South Scotland Enterprise, South Scotland Destination Alliance and all other tourist groups for the work they do.

“I was able to shine a light on our world class food and drink – including our whisky, gin and rum – our beautiful scenery, our connections to Burns, Bruce and Barry, our fantastic outdoor pursuits – such as at our 7Stanes Mountain biking trails, as well as our natural environment like at the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere. Our region has so much to offer and I want to support it to grow and develop.

“During the debate, I was also able to get a plug in for Dumfries to receive City Status as part of the Queens Platinum Jubilee. Previous towns which were awarded City Status – Perth, Stirling and Inverness – have gone from strength to strength economically, socially and culturally and attracted people and lots of new investment to their areas. If Dumfries receives city status, the town and our whole region could benefit similarly. I’m looking forward to the decision in a couple of week’s time.

“I called on the Tourism Minister to do all he can to ensure that South Scotland is promoted as a world-class tourism destination as we recover from the pandemic.”