About Us

MBTAG (Midlothian Borders Tourism Action Group)


MBTAG was set up in January 2017 following funding from Scottish Enterprise Tourism Development Fund and the Scottish Government Blueprint. Following the success of the ‘Borders Railway’, which opened in September 2015, it was identified that were was a great opportunity to grow on this success and to help businesses be more tourism ready region wide. MBTAG is private sector led and supported by the public sector.

MBTAG has a steering group consisting of 14 committee members, chaired by Giles Ingram from Abbotsford and is Project Managed by Jemma Reid and supported by a Business Tourism Advisor Fergus Watson.

MBTAG has a number of key tasks to deliver over 2017 and 2018. Our key objectives include product development, building capacity, and encouraging businesses to develop products linked to digital technologies, support innovation and product development to enhance customer experience across the 2 regions. MBTAG needs to increase collaboration & networking and help connect towns, villages, attractions and experiences.

Our action plan for the 2 years includes business engagement events, innovation workshops, FAM trips, an annual showcase and lots of projects to support the industry. In addition to this we will deliver a Travel Trade Development Program and support skills and training through building relationships and connections.

MBTAG Objectives

  • Encourage product development, Individually or Collaboratively
  • Build capacity in serving International Markets and Visitors
  • Encourage Businesses to develop products linked to Digital Technologies
  • Support Innovation & Product Development, new ideas to enhance quality of visitor experience in both regions.
  • Increase Collaboration and Networking
  • Help disperce visitors by connecting to towns, villages, attractions and experiences

The MBTAG Full Group is made up of representatives from the major stakeholders, agencies and industry groups who collectively represent the Scottish Borders & Midlothian tourism sector. It meets regularly to discuss the key challenges, opportunities and strategic issues for tourism in the 2 regions.

MBTAG works in conjunction with Scottish Borders Tourism Partnership (SBTP) & Midlothian Tourism Forum (MTF)

MBTAG Full Group Members

  • Giles Ingram – Abbotsford House (Chair of MBTAG)
  • Andrew Macdonald – Butterfly World (Vice Chair of MBTAG) & (Chair of Midlothain Tourism Forum)
  • Vicki Steel – Aikwood Tower
  • Will Hageland – County Hotel (Chair of the SBTP)
  • John Henderson – Born in the Borders (Vice Chair of SBTP)
  • Karen Calvert – The Papermill (Vice Chair of Midlothian Tourism Forum)
  • Julie Merilees – Dalkeith Country Park
  • Manuela Calchini – Visit Scotland
  • Alasdair Smart – Scotrail
  • Kate Pearson – Tourism Lead Scottish Borders Council
  • Caroline Wight – Tourism Lead Midlothian Council
  • Sam Smith – Borders Railway Blueprint



Support with growing your business you can access the services of our specialist tourism business adviser.

Fergus can offer support with:

  • Mentoring
  • Funding
  • Connections with business support networks
  • Project development
  • Top line business health check
  • Strategy development

Fergus has over 30 years business experience 10 of which has been supporting the development of the Tourism and Food and Drink Industries within Scotland.

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