Next Thursday morning the inaugural Midlothian Tourim Conference will take place at Newbattle Abbey College, writes Ian Gardner (Midlothian Tourism Forum).
Representatives from local attractions, hotels, restaurants and a host of other businesses and organisations will come together with a common aim of making the most of tourism in Midlothian.
Tourism is one of Scotland's most important industries, touching on every part of Scotland, including, of course, Midlothian.
The conference will hear from Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, followed by presentations by Chris McCoy on making tourism more accessible, and Lesley Wood on taking advantage of all the opportunities of digital marketing, so hopefully everyone will pick up a few valuable tips to take back to work .
Midlothian Tourism Forum will also be launching its new strategy at the conference and, whilst it is impossible to predict the future, the strategy sets out the direction for the forum up to 2020.
Our priorities capitalise on Midlothian's strengths and opportunities and, each year, we will agree an action plan showing how the strategy is being implemented in more detail – or, put another way, how the words are turning into action.
We hope that this strategy will encourage more people to visit Midlothian, enjoy a better experience in Midlothian and then return to Midlothian and I hope that all organisations and businesses in the area, which are keen to be involved, will help deliver these priorities over the next five years.
Full details of the conference, taking place on the morning of May 26, can be found at www.visitmidlothian.org.uk; attendance is free for forum members and £15 for non-members, which will be deducted from the cost of membership if they subsequently join! It promises to be an interesting, enjoyable and very useful morning, so please consider joining us at Newbattle Abbey College.