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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 May 2006, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
Growth proposal for forest park
Galloway Forest Park
The strategy aims to double visitor numbers to the park by 2015
A strategy to raise visitor numbers in the Galloway Forest Park to 1.6 million a year has been officially launched.

It is the first ever dedicated tourism action plan for a forest park and aims to double visitor numbers by 2015.

The strategy focuses on attractions like walking trails, cycling routes and access for horse riders in the Forestry Commission's largest Scottish park.

A range of marketing activities are planned and visitor numbers will be monitored to gauge the plan's success.

Scottish Enterprise Dumfries and Galloway (SEDG) Chief Executive Colin Williamson said the proposal could have a regionwide impact.

"The plan for the redevelopment of Galloway Forest Park will further develop the forest tourism experience," he said.

"SEDG will continue to work with Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) and local businesses to enhance the visitor experience and to maximise the number of people visiting Dumfries and Galloway."

'Natural asset'

"Galloway Forest Park welcomes over 800,000 visitors each year and our aim is to double that within the next nine years," said FCS District Manager for Galloway Rob Soutar.

"We have a fantastic natural asset which already plays a vital role in bringing tourism to the south west of Scotland," he added.

Tourism chiefs are also excited about the potential of the plan.

"This is the first of its kind in Scotland and we look forward to the opportunity of working together to ensure its ongoing success," said VisitScotland area director Delia Holland.

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