The Chamber – in all its previous incarnations – has been involved in a number of projects aimed at increasing trade, investment and tourism. Obviously, as a volunteer organisation, there are limits to involvement, but we continue to be enthusiastic about some of the more recent projects we have been involved with.
However, whilst setting up a project is fairly straightforward, what hampers the economic development of Galloway is its physical location. Our rail links are, in some respects, 2 dimensional; there is a rail link to Glasgow, but none, thanks in no small measure to the short sightedness of the Beeching days, direct to Dumfries. Bus travel between Stranraer in the west and Dumfries in the east is slow, with no real fast direct service between the west and the interchange at Dumfries (onward links to Carlisle by train/road etc) for travel to the east coast ferries, M6 south and so forth.
Time of travel between our nearest airports (Prestwick and Glasgow) is around 2 hours. However, Ferry (P&O/Stena) travel time between Loch Ryan and Belfast (Stena) /Larne (P&O) has been significantly reduced with the opening of the Stena Ferry Terminal at the head of the Loch.
Unfortunately, since the ferry service moved up the loch, the town of Stranraer has lost a considerable amount of passenger footfall and drive-on/off traffic. This has had a considerable effect on the revenue stream the town enjoyed from ferry passengers, With ferry passengers now being bussed directly from the port north to Glasgow, this has had a knock-on effect on train passenger numbers.
Consequently, the Chamber, alongside other organisations, has been looking into ways and means of bringing more business and tourism back to the area. Our own Tourism Gateway Strategy provided some valid proposal alongside those of SAYLSA. We have worked with Malin Waters and SailWest to examine increasing sailing tourism – a lucrative market into the area’s coastal zones. The Solway Spur project – aimed at boosting seaborne traffic/visitors holds great potential for the future.
We regularly meet with representatives of D&G Renwables Partnership, DG Events Partnership, Visit Scotland, EventScotland, Mull of Galloway Trust, the Scottish Sea Anglers Conservation Network, and a wide range of other organisations, partners, affiliates and colleagues, to find ways to increase visitor footfall and spend-per-head.
The Chamber is also actively pursuing a number of projects to boost trade & tourism via foreign investment (and subsequent job creation) here in Galloway
The Wigtownshire Chamber of Commerce would like to thank our MSP’s, MPs and Councillors for their support, advice and assistance with projects we have been/are involved with.
We will keep this site updated with project news as and when it comes in.