Aiming to attract one million more tourists to area by 2023

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From the vibrant scenes of Kirkintilloch’s Canal Festival to the tranquility of Mugdock Country Park, East Dunbartonshire has a wealth of attractions.

And it’s ready to play its part in enticing more than one million new visitors to the west of Scotland over the next five years.

That is the message from East Dunbartonshire Council as it works with seven local authorities to deliver the Glasgow City Region Tourism Strategy.

The aim is to increase the number of tourists to the west of Scotland, enhance visitor experiences and boost local economies. The new regional plan supports the council and its partners’ local commitment to tourism, which is set out in the East Dunbartonshire Economic Development Strategy.

Visitor attractions in the area include:

n Natural assets such as the Campsie Fells, Mugdock Country Park, Forth and Clyde Canal and the Kilpatrick Hills.

n A variety of walking routes, including the West Highland Way, Strathkelvin Railway Path, Thomas Muir Heritage Trail and John Muir Way.

n The Antonine Wall and cultural attractions such as the Auld Kirk Museum, Lillie Art Gallery and local libraries.

n Cycling, fishing and spectacular golf courses.

n Four town centres –Bearsden, Milngavie, Bishopbriggs and Kirkintilloch – with a range of shopping, restaurants, cafes and bars.

n Newly-revamped assets such as Kirkintilloch Town Hall and Kilmardinny House.

n Sporting attractions such as Bishopbriggs Leisuredrome, Allander Leisure Centre, Kirkintilloch Leisure Centre and Huntershill Sports Hub.

The council’s place, neighbourhood and corporate assets committee recently welcomed the Glasgow City Region Tourism Strategy and Action Plan.

Councillor Billy Hendry, convener, said: “We are pleased to be working with colleagues in the west of Scotland to boost tourism for the benefit of all.

“East Dunbartonshire has a wonderful array of natural and built assets offering a unique mix of history, heritage and innovation, set against a stunning backdrop.

“We have a huge amount to offer and to be proud of, from events such as Kirkintilloch Canal Festival and Milngavie Food and Drink Festival to jewels in the crown such as Kirkintilloch Town Hall and Kilmardinny House in Bearsden.

“It’s vital we seize the opportunity to market East Dunbartonshire to the world, benefitting the local economy, jobs and communities.

“It’s also important that we work closely with partner authorities in promoting the wider offering of the west of Scotland.”

The Glasgow City Region Tourism Strategy is part of the collaborative work being delivered through the joint Economic Strategy, launched last year. A key ambition within the strategy is to attract an additional one million tourists to the region by 2023.

The eight participating member authorities are East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire.

Plans include setting up:

n A city region culture group to promote and maximise existing cultural assets.

n A regional events and festivals forum to map and co-ordinate a programme of events.

n A new outdoor activities group to identify themes that will allow cross-boundary activities.

Work will tie in with the ongoing East Dunbartonshire Economic Development Strategy.

Inverclyde Council Leader, Councillor Stephen McCabe, is the portfolio lead for tourism and destination marketing in the city region deal.

He said: “The councils involved in the wider city region are making a commitment to work together to boost tourism for the benefit of all of our areas.

“The Glasgow City Region tourism strategy is a starting point in working together across the region to make sure that what we individually offer is part of a bigger offering to visitors.

“That’s got benefits for each council area, the wider region and for Scotland as a whole.”