Upper Nithsdale Tourism Action Group Launched

Business owners and community representatives from the towns and villages of Upper Nithsdale and North Lowther have formed a Tourism Action Group with the goal of raising awareness of the tourism potential of the area. 

One of the first objectives of the group is to map out in full the current tourism offer.  An audit of tourism accommodation has been undertaken by students at Strathclyde University, and they are due to report findings shortly.  The community group has also launched a ‘Call for Ideas’ via an on-line survey.  The survey invites local people and local business owners to share their views about the main tourism attractions, and also to comment upon the tourism potential of the area. 

The group is Chaired by Jon Evans of Wanlockhead’s Museum of Lead Mining, he said:

“This group has emerged from a series of Community Conversations which identified tourism as a real opportunity for our area.  This action group comprises of people who want to make a difference, and there is an open invitation for more people to get involved. 

“Our first step as a group is to identify what our current tourism offer is and to explore ways to communicate that to a wider audience.  The Call for Ideas survey will help us ensure we have a strong understanding of what’s currently available for visitors to see, do and experience in and around our communities, so I would encourage as many local people as possible to take part in the survey.  We’d particularly like people to try to surprise us and tell about hidden gems and best kept tourism secrets in the area.”

Vice Chair of the group, Rose Murdoch of Kirkconnel and Kelloholm Community Development Trust, commented:

 “This is an opportunity for our communities to come together and work collaboratively to unlock the potential of our area. The Tourism Action Group includes the communities of Sanquhar, Kirkconnel, Kelloholm, Crawick, Crawfordjohn, Wanlockhead and Leadhills.  These are communities that are at the very north of Dumfries and Galloway and the very south of South Lanarkshire, but while we cross over local authority boundary lines, these communities cluster naturally as a destination.  I would hope the Tourism Action Group becomes a catalyst for change in our area, working positively to identify opportunities and undertaking community led activities for the benefit of our own area.”

Meetings are held on a monthly basis in A’ the Airts in Sanquhar.  Centre Manager Yvonne Barber said:

“I’m delighted to host these meetings in A’ the Airts as it’s great to see our local communities coming together in this way.  There are lots of opportunities for people to get involved in the work of this group.  We are right at the very start of deciding what our programme of activities will be, and in the longer term the focus of the group will be determined by the opportunities we identify through the Call for Ideas survey.  I hope as many people as possible, particularly young people, step forward and become involved in this group.  This is an opportunity to determine for ourselves our own vision for our local area.”

The Tourism Action Group is a wholly community led organisation that emerged from a series of Community Conversations which highlighted tourism as a common theme across all communities in the area.  Following the conversation events Buccleuch provided funding to get the Tourism Action Group established. 

The Tourism Action Group survey can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TourismActionGroup

All members of the community are invited to participate.