JEDBURGH’S VisitScotland information centre faces the axe after the tourism organisation announced the closures of all such venues across the country.

Its network of information centres, including the outlet in Murray’s Green, close to Jedburgh Abbey, will close over the next two years as part of a strategy designed to grow the visitor economy by influencing visitors in the planning stage of their trip before they leave home.

It follows significant changes to the way people plan their holidays with most using online resources and travel specialists to research and book all aspects of their trips, according to VisitScotland.

This includes arranging accommodation and activities before they arrive at their destination.

To adapt to this shift in behaviour, VisitScotland will invest its resources in a 'digital-first' strategy. It will target channels it knows visitors use to inspire and influence where visitors go, when they come and what they do, including promoting lesser-known destinations and quieter times of year.

The new approach will help the national tourism organisation to deliver its core purpose to drive the visitor economy and grow its value to Scotland by reaching more people and influencing visitors from Scotland’s key global markets.

All VisitScotland information centres – known as iCentres – will operate as usual until the end of September as part of phased two-year closure programme. VisitScotland is currently engaging with stakeholders to discuss local arrangements.

Lord Thurso, VisitScotland chair, said: “The tourism landscape has changed significantly in recent years. The demand for iCentres has reduced while the demand for online information and booking has continued to grow. In order to continue building demand and growing the value of tourism and events, it is vitally important that we target channels we know visitors use to influence them to visit Scotland.

“Our research shows that as an organisation, we have a greater and more impactful role to play in providing information before visitors travel. Prioritising a digital-first model of information provision allows us to reach potential visitors at those early planning stages when we can shape their future travel decisions.

“Together with businesses and our partners, we want to build on success and ensure that across all areas of our work – marketing, destination development, business advice, insights and events – we prioritise the activities that will deliver for our industry and for Scotland.

“By evolving our work in this way, we will be able to invest in the activities that will accelerate sustainable growth in the visitor economy, helping create jobs, sustain communities and attract investment for the future.”