South Scotland

Books, bikes and rugby 'worth millions' to the Borders

Book festival site Image copyright Alex Hewitt
Image caption The Borders Book Festival provided the majority of the economic boost from council-backed events

Books, bikes and rugby were the driving force behind events generating nearly £4m for the Borders economy last year, according to a council report.

It looked at council-backed events across the region in 2018.

The Borders Book Festival, Melrose Rugby 7s and the Tweedlove Festival were estimated to have generated more than £3.5m between them alone.

However, the regional total from such events fell as it did not host a Tour of Britain stage last year.

A report to Scottish Borders Council said that supporting festivals had a "significant impact" on the economy.

Image copyright Tweedlove
Image caption The Tweedlove Festival has become a regular fixture in the Borders

"These events raise the profile and enhance the reputation of the Scottish Borders and deliver social and community benefits," it said.

The biggest economic driver was the Borders Book Festival in Melrose, thought to be worth £2.32m.

It attracted nearly 30,000 spectator admissions last year despite the site having to be closed for a spell on its opening day due to Storm Hector.

Melrose Rugby 7s had an economic impact of £572,000 with the Tweedlove Cycling Festival based in and around Peebles bringing in an estimated £740,000.

The report added that the Borders Railway was also having a positive impact on event attendances.

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