MORE than 60 people from local tourism groups packed into Peebles’ Eastgate Theatre for the official launch of the Tweed Valley Tourism Business Improvement District (BID).

The project is being set up to help promote the area as a world-class cycling and outdoor activity destination. 

And if the finalised business plan is approved, it could see Scottish Borders Council collecting a levy from the interested companies to help boost tourism in the Tweed Valley.

The BID was launched by Catherine Maxwell Stuart of Traquair House, who gave a short presentation at the launch to explain the scheme.

She was joined by Emma Guy who has been appointed project co-ordinator and Graeme Ambrose, chief executive of Visit Inverness Loch Ness – which became the first tourism BID in Scotland four years ago.

He gave his first-hand experience of launching the scheme.

Emma said: “We saw a great turnout for the launch and there was a real buzz about the project, with lots of positive feedback. 

“Having Graeme with us to share his experience of going through a Tourism BID was of huge help to all of us in the audience.”

As a high-profile mountain biking figure, Emma will be at the forefront of drawing up the business plan and will begin by carrying out a detailed consultation with firms.

Once the business plan is finalised, the 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. 

And if approved, that is when the council will be able to collect a compulsory levy – with all the funds invested in delivering the agreed plan.

Emma added: “The hard work starts now. I look forward to listening to the views of as many tourism businesses as possible to get a feel for how they see tourism developing here in the Tweed Valley. This crucial feedback will then help shape the creation of our business plan for the BID.”

There are more than 135 BIDs in the UK. To find out more about the process in Scotland, visit: