THE five businesses behind the Famously Hawick partnership were visited by two Scottish Government Ministers last week.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop and local MSP Paul Wheelhouse visited Johnstons of Elgin, William Lockie, The Borders Distillery, Lovat Mill and Hawico.

A unique marketing collaboration between the five premium producers is regarded by the Scottish Government as a great example of companies working together to attract visitors.

Over 100 travel trade professionals have already visited the sites since Famously Hawick was launched last year.

And representatives also attended Expo in Glasgow during the spring.

Ms Hyslop is impressed with the collaboration.

She said: “Today at Famously Hawick I have seen first-hand what this renowned, innovative textile town has to offer in producing internationally acclaimed cashmere, Tweed and whisky.

"The Scottish textiles and food and drink sectors make significant contributions to rural communities through a network of small and large successful businesses.

"They are key growth industries in the Scottish economy and the potential to increase their impact through exports and promotional tourism opportunities is significant.

"I look forward to taking forward discussions on how we can support the ambition to market Hawick as an industrial tourism destination, and how we can further promote textiles and food and drink as exciting growth industries with rewarding career and investment opportunities.”

As well as building on interest and bookings already generated, the next phase of the Famously Hawick partnership will see travel trade packages introduced, and campaigns targeting the north of England, Germany, Holland and North America being developed and implemented.

The two Ministers were given a personal introduction to each of the businesses by the five managing directors and enjoyed tours of the production process and retail experience.

The visit also provided the Famously Hawick team with the valuable opportunity to discuss key issues and opportunities for the future with the Tourism Minister and local MSP.