A north-east politician has urged tourist agencies to capitalise on the opening of the V&A Museum in Dundee and help guide tourists to neighbouring communities in Aberdeenshire.
The V&A officially opened to the public earlier this month in a fanfare of international publicity, with the ambition of attracting £185million to the city economy by 2020.
Community leaders in south Aberdeenshire have led calls for this ambitious dividend to be distributed around the surrounding regions, enabling them to reap the benefits of a vibrant tourist economy.
Councillor Leigh Wilson has been championing tourism in the Mearns since his election last year and is among those backing a north-east dividend beyond just Dundee.
He said: “With the renewed interest in Dundee and the increased turnover of tourists to accompany it, I am determined that areas such as the Mearns relentlessly promote ourselves to a captive audience.
“We want to entice some of those hundreds of thousands of visitors a little further north.”
Our Mearns Tourism Association has launched a campaign to raise the profile of the area as a tourist destination, and last year launched the Visit Mearns website.
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The group has embarked on a range of projects, including an initiative to resurrect a pathway along a lost railway track connecting Inverbervie and Montrose.
Their members have also devised plans to create a food trail in the area to connect a variety of quality food producers bringing together both the farming and fishing sectors.
Mr Wilson added: “While the V&A offers an attraction to tourists on a grand scale, the Mearns can offer something different in illustrating our cultural landscape.
“We have one of the most beautiful beaches in Scotland at St Cyrus.
“At the Clatterin’ Brig, near Fettercairn, you can dine in a restaurant situated in one of the most picturesque locations in the east of Scotland.
“And at the Maggie Law museum in Gourdon, you can learn about the history of the rocky Mearns coast and the unthinkable risks fishermen often took.
“The Mearns has a wonderful blend of the inland and the coastal, and that is why it is a perfect complement to the V&A.”