A pioneering local mountain biking figure has been appointed to lead an ambitious tourism-based Business Improvement District (BID) project that aims to turn the Tweed Valley into a truly world-class destination for cycling and outdoor activities.
A former professional downhill rider, coach and joint owner of the much-loved Hub in The Forest café, which operated at Glentress for a decade, Emma Guy is well-known in local mountain biking circles and beyond.
“We had an incredibly strong list of candidates for the position, each with a good range of skills, but we felt that Emma was the ideal person to enthuse and inspire tourism businesses to explore the benefits of the BID,” explained Catherine Maxwell Stuart, Chair of the BID steering committee.
Appointed on an initial 18-month contract, Emma took up her post as Project Coordinator for the Tweed Valley Tourism BID last week. She will now begin the detailed process of speaking with businesses of all shapes and sizes to see how they envisage the area developing as a tourism destination in the years ahead. This feedback will help shape the creation of a comprehensive business plan for the BID.
Once the business plan is finalised, the BID proposal will be put to a vote for all the local businesses who may wish to become part of the project, with a ballot scheduled for autumn 2019. If approved, the scheme will enable Scottish Borders Council to collect a compulsory levy from all the businesses involved, with the funds invested in delivering the agreed plan.
“I’m really excited to be given this opportunity,” commented Emma. “As all those who know me are aware, I’m deeply passionate about the Tweed Valley and its potential to become a genuinely world-class activity destination. Cycling and mountain biking are certainly the catalysts that will bring more visitors here in the future.
“I strongly believe that a tourism BID is the best way to take what’s already on offer in the Tweed Valley to the next level – for the benefit of tourism businesses and visitors alike. I can’t wait to get started.”
With the project very much in its infancy, Emma will be assisted by the Tourism BID steering committee, which consists of local tourism businesses and many of the area’s large hotels. Additional support will come from a variety of people with experience of working on BID projects elsewhere, plus representatives of Scottish Borders Council.
The project follows on from successful work carried out by the Tweed Valley Tourist Consortium over the past decade, and will initially also be supported by them.
Tweed Valley-based tourism businesses are invited to attend the official launch of the Tweed Valley Tourism BID at the Eastgate Theatre, Peebles at 11am on 25 April. The launch will include a short presentation by Graeme Ambrose, Chief Executive of Visit Inverness Loch Ness, which became the first tourism BID in Scotland four years ago. The launch will be followed by the AGM of the Tweed Valley Tourist Consortium.