Railway boost for Midlothian

In the foreground from left to right are Gillian Bertram and Heloise Buchanan, flight crew with Ryze while in the background are Midlothian Councils Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Councillor Jim Bryant on the left and owner of the Coronation Restaurant Alan Russell. Both Ryze and the Coronation have benefited from the Borders Railway.

In the foreground from left to right are Gillian Bertram and Heloise Buchanan, flight crew with Ryze while in the background are Midlothian Councils Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Councillor Jim Bryant on the left and owner of the Coronation Restaurant Alan Russell. Both Ryze and the Coronation have benefited from the Borders Railway.

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New data has revealed that tourism in Midlothian has received a major boost since the introduction of the Borders Railway in September 2015.

The Scottish Tourism Economic Assessment Monitor (STEAM) statistics show an improvement in tourism performance figures in the first half of 2016, compared to the first half of 2015 when the railway was not yet open. It is also the first time in 10 years that every category has improved.

The company, which produces STEAM data, believes the most likely source for the rise in tourism activity in Midlothian is the railway.

Notably, the figures show a 12.3 per cent rise in the number of visitor days in hotels and bed and breakfasts; visitor spend on food and drink in the same period rose by 6.5 per cent; overall visitor spend was up 6.8 per cent; the number of days visitors stayed in Midlothian increased by 7.2 per cent; and there was a 4.1 per cent improvement in employment related to tourism.

Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for economic development, Councillor Jim Bryant (SNP), said: “We’re absolutely delighted the Borders Railway is introducing more people to Midlothian’s wonderful scenery and world-class attractions.

“We were always confident that the Borders Railway would bring new jobs, more tourists and significant economic opportunities to the area.

“These figures are testament to the fact, these benefits are already under way.”