TOURISM leaders in the region s are driving ahead with plans for the creators of the highly-successful North Coast 500 to also put the Borders on the map.

The Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership has approached Tom Campbell and John Lennon to deliver a new strategy for promoting the area to potential visitors.

And the committee has launched a crowdfunding appeal to help meet the costs.

John Henderson, vice chair of the Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership, told us: “We believe that we have a world class tourism product in the Scottish Borders which working together can position the area as one of the Scottish regions to visit.

"If we are serious about this the industry need to show their commitment and invest in the future of tourism in the Scottish Borders.

"All we are asking is that every tourism business donates £10 or more."

Tom Campbell and John Lennon were the ground-breaking team behind the North Coast 500 strategy which is now bringing record number of tourists to the North West of Scotland.

The route is already being used as an exemplar worldwide of how to successfully use a tourism strategy to bring huge economic benefits to a rural area all year round.

A recent study found that the North Coast 500 scenic route, which takes in the Black Isle, Caithness, Sutherland and Wester Ross, brought 29,000 more visitors to the Highlands in its first year after launching in 2015 and added £9m to the region's economy.

The study found that there was a 26 per cent average rise in visitor numbers to the areas on the route, compared to a six per cent increase across the rest of the Highlands.

Accommodation providers and visitor attractions along the North Coast 500 enjoyed an average 15 to 20 per cent increase in trade

The Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership hopes to replicate the success with a similar strategy to make the most of the region’s extraordinary heritage, incredible landscapes, amazing accommodation and delicious food and drink.

Members believe that the untapped tourism potential of the area is huge.

Mr Henderson added: "We want to change the face of tourism in the Scottish Borders forever and urge tourism businesses to make their contribution today.

"Working together we can make the most of this wonderful region.”

The Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership is asking all tourism businesses in the region to donate a minimum of £10 to the crowdfunding appeal.

A spokeswoman for the Partnership added: "The project will be funded by a mixture of private and public investment, but to show that the local tourism industry is committed to the success of the future strategy of the region, the Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership has come up with an innovative way of raising some of the funding required.

"The team has introduced a crowd funding project asking each of their members to contribute a minimum of £10 to the strategy which would mean a £5,000 plus investment from the industry itself."

Contributions to the strategy can be made at