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.

In Phase 1 of MBTAG 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 needed to increase collaboration & networking and help connect towns, villages, attractions and experiences.

MBTAG (Midlothian & Borders Tourism Action Group) Phase 2 – January 2019 – late 2020

We are delighted to announce additional funding has been secured to continue the activities of MBTAG (Midlothian & Borders Tourism Action Group) through until the end of 2020.

MBTAG Phase 1 has seen a range of business to business activities delivered over the past 2 years including online training modules, innovation workshops, familiarisation trips, trade shows, a travel trade development programme, a new industry website and we are eagerly awaiting the launch of the new Midlothian and Borders Tourism app which will launch in both regions  during Scottish Tourism Month in March.

Funding for MBTAG Phase 2 will help to deliver the following 2 new programmes

Digital Marketing Project  A new digital coordinator will be contracted to work with tourism businesses across Midlothian and Scottish Borders. The coordinator will lead the development of a new digital strategy for the region(s) including the commissioning of new digital content which may include new photography, videos, drone footage etc. This will be used in new digital campaigns to showcase Midlothian & Borders and our tourism offering. We will have a new consumer facing websites for both regions with an overarching campaign website and new digital campaigns to grow our social media reach and followings.

Travel Trade Programme Experience Collection This part of the programme will focus on working with businesses to make them more ready to engage with the travel trade and help to develop new products and experiences which are of increased appeal to international visitors.

  • We will kick off with some market research to help us identify which target markets are best suited to Midlothian & Borders and help us understand what these markets are looking for.
  • We will run a programme of business support bringing in industry experts such as VisitScotland and Scottish Development International (SDI) who will coach and guide businesses into thinking about developing new products, experiences and events.
  • We will bring in a travel trade specialist who will be able to support businesses in putting products together and advise on routes to market and what the travel trade industry is looking for along with identifying key operators businesses should target.
  • We will bring buyers to Midlothian and Borders to meet out local businesses to experience first-hand what we have to offer throughout the region(s).
  • We will identify travel trade shows to attend to promote the region(s) and out products and experiences.

MBTAG has a steering group consisting of 9 committee members, chaired by Giles Ingram from Abbotsford and is Project Managed by Jemma Reid.

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 Midlothian Tourism Forum)
  • Vicki Steel – Aikwood Tower (and management committee of SBTP)
  • Julie Merilees – Dalkeith Country Park
  • Neil Robertson – VisitScotland
  • Alasdair Smart – Scotrail
  • Kate Pearson – Tourism Lead Scottish Borders Council
  • Caroline Wight – Tourism Lead Midlothian Council

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