Variety is the spice of life for visitors to the Borders

The range of activities on offer in the Scottish Borders is one of the main reasons people enjoy holidaying in the region, according to VisitScotland's biggest ever Visitor Survey.

Thursday, 8th June 2017, 10:14 am
Updated Thursday, 8th June 2017, 10:18 am
Professional mountain biker Ruaridh Cunningham in Glentress and Innerleithen

Carried out in the summers of 2015 and 2016, the national tourism organisation’s poll saw 505 visitors to the Scottish Borders interviewed, with 127 of these answering specific questions about their visit to the area in a follow-up survey online.

32 per cent of respondents cited the range of activities available in the area as the motivation to visit – more than double the national average of 14 per cent. The scenery and landscape was the main draw to the region with 67 per cent of the respondents citing this as their motivation and just under half of visitors (47 per cent) said history and culture was an important factor in their visit.

The Scottish Borders attracts more than the national average of visitors who express a long-held desire to visit the area (42 per cent compared to the national average of 15 per cent). And just over a third had previously visited the area and were keen to return (35 per cent).

The diverse landscape of the Scottish Borders makes it an ideal location for a diverse range of activities, from the more serene fishing, golf and walking, to the adrenaline-inducing mountain bike trails, high-wire assault courses, horse riding and falconry.

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Visitors to the Scottish Borders gave positive ratings of their holiday experience, with 94 per cent giving scores of 7-10 on the satisfaction scale, and just over three-fifths (61 per cent) gave the highest ratings of nine or ten out of ten.

Holidaymakers also expressed a high likelihood to recommend the region to friends or family, with 93 per cent scoring it between 7-10 and 69 per cent selecting nine or ten out of ten.

Sightseeing by car, coach or on foot was the most popular activity, with 72 per cent of respondent citing this as a reason to visit the region. In second spot is visiting a historic house, stately home or castle (57 per cent), while visiting a cathedral, church, abbey or religious building is enjoyed by 53 per cent (7 per cent above the national average).

Manuela Calchini, Regional Partnerships Director for the South of Scotland, said: “With nearly 12,000 visitors all over the country interviewed, this is the biggest Scotland Visitor Survey we have ever produced. I am delighted, but not surprised, to see that so many people rate their trips to the Scottish Borders so highly. As well as being attracted by the stunning scenery on offer, there are so many things to do, from the world-class mountain bike trails to fishing on the famous River Tweed. There really is something for everyone in the Scottish Borders.

“Finding out what drives people to enjoy a holiday in the region provides the tourism industry with valuable insight into the makeup of our visitors and ensure we continue to provide the best customer experience.”

According to the GB Tourism Survey and International Passenger Survey, the Scottish Borders welcomed 328,000 overnight visitors in 2015, with 12 per cent of these from overseas. The top overseas markets were France, Netherlands, Germany, USA and Australia while, overall, visitors spent £76 million while on holiday in the region.

To read the Scotland Visitor Survey, go to