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Drive to promote hidden gems in £30m tourism bid

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Feb 29, 2008

TOURISM bosses are to promote hidden gems on the outskirts as Glasgow as part of a drive to generate £30million.

East Renfrewshire plans to launch its first tourism strategy in a bid to bring in millions of pounds for the local economy.

Backers hope the action plan, due to be launched in April, will boost annual tourism revenue in the area by an extra £10m and attract 400,0000 visitors a year to the area.

The masterplan will focus on walking routes, cycle paths, hillwalking and outdoor pursuits.

The historic Greenbank Garden, off Mearns Road, Clarkston, Rouken Glen Park and the Fereneze Braes, overlooking Barrhead, will all be highlighted.

Other eco-tourism' attractions include the newly established Dams to Darnley Country Park, between Newton Mearns and Barrhead, which offers visitors walking, cycling, fishing, and horse riding.

The hotel group De Vere has secured planning permission for a four-star hotel at Greenlaw Park, off the M77, and major operators have expressed an interest in other sites.

East Renfrewshire currently has no tourism strategy and is one of only two Scottish councils with no direct links to VisitScotland.

However, around £20m a year is created for the area by the industry that in Greater Glasgow tourism generates £785m for the economy and supports 30,000 jobs.

Philip Prentice, the council's economic development manager, said: "Tourism in East Renfrewshire is happening without design or plan and this is a missed opportunity to develop a strong economic contribution to the area.

"Eco tourism, the promotion of health and fitness and increased interest in the environment are huge growth areas."

The Dams to Darnley Country Park is spread over more than 1300 acres and has been opened up to the public, although the vast majority of the land is privately owned.

Greenbank Garden is divided into several themed sections.

Its 2.5 acre walled garden, has been around since the main Georgian mansion was built in the early 1760s.

Old Mearns, Uplawmoor, Busby, Eaglesham and Neilston all feature cultural trails and Rouken Glen is one of the country's most popular parks.

Philip Riddle, chief Executive of VisitScotland, will formally launch East Renfrewshire's Tourism Strategy and Action Plan on April 3 at Eastwood Theatre.

It's estimated 350,000 people visited East Renfrewshire in 2006.

Drive to promote hidden gems in £30m tourism bid

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