Galloway Forest Park project seeks business interests
Businesses are being sought to run a string of new tourism facilities in a £4.5m development planned in the Galloway Forest Park.
They include a new visitor complex at Kirroughtree, a totally modernised visitor centre at Clatteringshaws and an upgraded centre at Glentrool.
Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) is seeking expressions of interest.
It is hoped all the new and refurbished facilities will be up and running by the end of 2013.
End Quote Keith Muir Forestry Commission Scotland
We are currently welcoming over one million visitors a year”
It is part of a major drive, headed by the commission, to boost visitor numbers.
FCS tourism manager for Galloway, Keith Muir, said: "A few years ago we recorded about 800,000 visitors were coming to Galloway Forest Park.
"Since then, the 7stanes biking project, new walking trails and the award of Dark Sky Park status have all boosted numbers.
"We are currently welcoming over one million visitors a year, making it a key visitor destination which has real potential for business development."
He said the new investment plans were an opportunity for "enthusiastic, dynamic businesses with a good understanding of tourism".
Galloway Forest Park was established in 1947 and is the UK's largest Forest Park at over 97,000 hectares - the equivalent of more than 300 square miles.
It straddles the regions of East Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway.
It received Dark Sky Park recognition in 2009, and is the only such site in Britain.