LANDOWNERS in the South West have met with Scottish Government Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing, to discuss barriers to tourism and development in the countryside.
The meeting, held at Dumfries House, looked at many of the difficulties around starting up and maintaining successful rural tourism enterprises in the South West of Scotland. Amongst other aspects the discussion centred on agricultural holdings legislation, the high charges for connecting small scale renewable energy to the national grid, difficulties in attracting tourists to the area, local authority guidance around planning and general funding of rural projects. The ban on Sunday salmon fishing was also cited by landowners as a major stumbling block for the promotion of strong tourism packages in the South West of Scotland since it meant a loss of income on that day.
Fergus Ewing MSP commented:
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said:
"Dumfries and Galloway has a great deal to offer visitors and by working together we can make the most of this. Forums like the one organised by Scottish Land & Estates are a very useful way of discussing just how we can do just that.
"It's clear that Scottish Land & Estates can play a major role in improving communications between key stakeholders to help tourism enterprises and land owners grow their businesses. I am happy to help with this engagement wherever I can.
"The beautiful venue of Dumfries House was ideal in showcasing what can be done to attract tourists with a proactive attitude and through collaboration between a range of organisations. Scottish Land & Estates is one of the most vibrant and growing rural organisations in Scotland and their positive role in encouraging dialogue like this to support rural business is highly commendable".
Matthew Sinclair, Chairman of Scottish Land & Estates’ South West Committee, commented:
“It was good to welcome Fergus Ewing as a guest at our South West Committee meeting and to share the frustrations, but also the hopes, of many of our members in rural areas seeking help with establishing and growing their rural businesses. Mr Ewing has taken away some important points of interest and action, indicating these will be fed into the government’s policy and debate process on rural enterprise, which is most encouraging to Scottish Land & Estates and our membership”.