News, stories and reports from Forestry Commission Scotland and the National Forest Estate

Forest Tourism Summit

The first forest tourism summit took place on 13 November, hosted by two Scottish Government Cabinet Secretaries. It brought together a wide range of public and private tourism interests, to listen to ideas and concerns, seek new opportunities and address economic challenges within the sector.

It was held within Tweed Valley Forest Park at Glentress Forest, Peebles, the visitor attraction with the largest footfall in the Scottish Borders, home to a range of forest recreation opportunities and one of the world famous 7stanes mountain bike centres.

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The Forest Park is a great example of a forest tourism destination, with proposals being put forward by Forest Holidays to invest £10 million in 56 luxury eco-cabins, creating 60 jobs and potentially contributing over £1million to the local economy. This exciting development will also comprise a £1.3 million investment by Forest Enterprise Scotland to upgrade and modernise the trails to broaden their appeal to a wider range of users including beginners and families.

The forest tourism summit had full backing from the Scottish Government with both Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop and Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing giving keynote speeches.

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Alan Stevenson, Forest Enterprise Scotland’s Head of Communities, Recreation and Tourism said: “The summit was a big success and well attended with a range of diverse tourism interests from all parts of the country participating.

“We gathered some key ideas and messages which build on the work underway with the stakeholder action plan and also the development of the Land Management Plan for the Tweed Valley. We take these forward with key partners and stakeholders to ensure that we progress the commitments made in the Programme for Government for the South of Scotland area.

The forest tourism summit was a big  step forward in getting interested parties to really make a go of driving forward the forest tourism sector, which already contributes around £183 million each year to the Scottish economy.  Around £110 million of this total is generated through activities on the National Forest Estate.