TOURIST information centres across the Borders are set to close in the new year.

VisitScotland has announced radical plans which will leave Jedburgh the only town in the Borders with a dedicated Tourist Information Centre.

The move comes following a drastic drop in footfall at centres across the country - from seven million in 2005 to less than three million last year - and research which shows that two in three visitors access information online.

From next February the iCentre in Peebles will close.

And from this October the provision for providing tourism information in Hawick will be delivered by Live Borders.

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland told us: "The way visitors access information has changed significantly and we need to reflect this by switching investment to new initiatives in order to reach more people with personalised information so they stay longer, spend more and grow the visitor economy.

“The new two–year strategy (2017 to 2019) will see a significant increase in the number of channels providing content on places to visit and stay, with a mix of industry partners, Coo Vans and digital products sitting alongside 26 key iCentres in high impact locations.”

The Borders branch closures come after the shutters came down at Melrose Tourist Information Centre last June following a move of location and a drop in visitor numbers.

And Kelso's TIC also closed for good last October.

VisitScotland's new strategy will see Jedburgh’s iCentre being supported by over 70 VisitScotland Information Partners (VIPs) across, which includes hotels, bed & breakfasts, self-catering properties and camping sites.

Attractions such as Glentress, Abbotsford and Traquair House have also signed up as VIPs.

A VisitScotland spokeswoman added: "This new approach will allow the national tourism organisation to reflect changing visitor demands and deliver more personalised information through a diverse range of channels so people stay longer, spend more and help to grow the economy.

"VisitScotland staff have also been significantly mobilised over the past 18 months enabling knowledgeable advisors to deliver face to face information to every corner of Scotland at events and attractions.

"A fleet of Coo Vans hit the road each summer on a mission to inform the masses and in addition VisitScotland delivers outreach at major events with pop up information hubs.

"In the area the Coo Vans have visited Borders Book Festival in Melrose, Thirlestane Castle and Abbotsford House and will be visiting Floors Castle Pipe Band Day and Borders’ Railway Steam Train Day providing advice and what to see and do in the region.

"In addition, an investment of almost £6000 in new signage for the Jedburgh iCentre will be put in place shortly."