As discussed above, a key
aim of this research was to record details of visitors using the Borders
Railway during the summer peak and, in so doing, provide greater clarity on the
overall tourism impact of the new line. In order to identify the responses to
the User Survey provided by visitors, respondents were asked to indicate
whether their current trip was
- a leisure day trip to Midlothian and/or the Scottish Borders;
- a leisure day trip to Edinburgh;
- a short or long overnight trip to Midlothian and/or the Scottish
- a short or long overnight trip to Edinburgh; or
- None of the above.
This Chapter focuses on the
respondents who selected the first four of the above options. A demographic
breakdown of responses received by this group is included in Appendix D. In
order to frame the argument, the Chapter is again structured around a series of
key questions as follows:
- What proportion of Borders Railway users are tourists?
- What attracted visitors to make their current trip?
- To what extent is the re-opening of the Borders Railway a factor
in people’s decision to make tourist trips?
- What type of accommodation is used by overnight tourists using
the Borders Railway and how much do they spend on accommodation?
- What activities are undertaken by tourists using the Borders
Railway and how much do they spend on activities?
- How did visitors rate their trip as a whole?
- Have the tourist sites consulted seen an increase in tourist
numbers and are there any barriers which prevent visitors to the sites from
using the service?
What proportion of user of
the Borders Railway are tourists?
Overall, 60% (n=496) of all
respondents to the Year 2 Survey indicated that the purpose of their journey on
the train was either a day trip or an overnight stay in the Scottish Borders,
Midlothian or Edinburgh and therefore are considered tourists. When frequency
of trip is taken into consideration this equates to 30% of annual single trips
recorded via the sample. As would be expected given the timing of the surveys,
this proportion is far higher than that recorded during the Year 1 Survey where
visitors accounted for 39% (n=436) of respondents and visitor trips accounted
for 15% of the annual single trips recorded by the sample.
Of those who reported that they
were on either a day trip or an overnight stay, the majority were on day trips
(87%, n=433) whilst 13%(n=63) said that their trip included an overnight stay. As
shown in Figure 5.1, the largest proportion of respondents to the Year 2 survey
stated that they were making a day trip to Edinburgh (55%, n=273). In total,
59% (n=293) were travelling to Edinburgh and 41% (n=203) were travelling to the
Scottish Borders or Midlothian. The proportions are broadly comparable to the
Year 1 Survey although there is a slightly higher proportion of day trips to
Midlothian and the Scottish Borders (32% compared to 25%) and a smaller
proportion of overnight trips to Edinburgh (4% compared to 9%).
Of the 203 respondents travelling
to the Scottish Borders or Midlothian, approximately 8% (n=17) were travelling
to Midlothian (accounting for 3% of the overall visitor sample). Given the
relatively small size of the Midlothian sample, breaking down the results by
local authority would be unreliable and therefore, for the remainder of this
chapter, the data for visitors to Scottish Borders and Midlothian is reported
5.1: Journey purpose (day trips and overnight stays)
Figure 5.2 below provides a
breakdown of the home location of those who indicated they were travelling for
a day or overnight trip (for those who provided this information).
5.2: Home location of respondents who identified themselves as day and
Overall, 89% (n=414) of visitors who
provided their home location were residents of Scotland, with 61% (n=283) living
in the Scottish Borders, 11% (n=53) living in Edinburgh, and 6% (n=30) living
in Midlothian. A further 9% (n=40) came from elsewhere in the UK and 0.2% (n=1)
came from the USA. Overall, 3% (n=12) selected ‘other overseas’, with
responses including South Africa, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, New
Zealand, Spain, Canada, and Venezuela. While the number of overseas visitors
appears small compared to the proportion coming from the UK, international
visitors are a key market for tourism in Scotland.
accounted for 60% of respondents to the User Survey. The majority (89%) of
these came from Scotland with the largest proportion from the Scottish
Borders. There were also smaller numbers of visitors from elsewhere in the UK
as well as the USA and a number of other overseas countries. Whilst the
majority of visitor trips were to Edinburgh, there were also a considerable
number of trips made to the Scottish Borders.
What attracted visitors to
make their current trip?
Figure 5.3 shows the reasons
respondents provided for making their current trip. It is noted that
respondents were able to tick more than one box. Overall, the most popular
response was to visit family and friends with 39% (n=45) of respondents
selecting this option. In total 6% (n=7) selected ‘to experience the Borders
Railway’. As shown below, a similar proportion of respondents ticked the
5.3: What attracted visitors to make their current trip?
family and friends was the most popular reason given by visitors for making
their current trip with 39% of respondents ticking this option.
To what extent is the
re-opening of the Borders Railway a factor in people’s decision to make tourist
Respondents to the User survey
who indicated they were making a tourist day trip or overnight trip were also
asked about the extent to which the re-opening of the Borders Railway had
influenced their decision to make the trip. Amongst those who responded to
this question (n=471), 71% (n=333) said that the Borders Railway had been a
factor in their decision to make their current trip, with 32% (n=150)
stating it was the main factor, 29% (n=136) stating it was one of a
number of factors, and 10% (n=47) stating it was a fairly minor factor (see
The overall proportion of
respondents stating that the line was a factor in their decision to make their
trip was higher in Year 2 (71%, n=333) compared to Year 1 (67%, n=276).
However, a smaller proportion of Year 2 respondents (29%, n=136) said the line
was the main factor compared to Year 1 respondents (35%, n=144).
As shown in the figure below,
those travelling to Midlothian and / or the Scottish Borders placed more
importance on the re-opening of the line than those travelling to Edinburgh,
with those making day trips seeing it as more important than those undertaking
Figure 5.4: The importance of the
Borders Railway in respondents’ decision to make their current trip
Respondents were also asked
whether they would have made their current trip if the Borders Railway had not
re-opened. Of those who responded to this question (n=468), 25% (n=119) said
they would not have made the trip. This is slightly higher than the
equivalent Year 1 figure (23%, n=98).
As shown in the Figure 5.5 below,
the proportion of those selecting this option was slightly higher amongst those
visiting Midlothian and / or the Scottish Borders (27%, n=51) compared to those
visiting Edinburgh (25%, n=68), with the highest proportion being amongst day
trippers to Midlothian and / or the Scottish Borders (28%, n=41). This pattern
is broadly comparable with the Year 1 figures.
5.5: Likelihood of respondent making trip if the Borders Railway had not
Those respondents who indicated
that they would not have made the trip if the Borders Railway not re-opened
were asked what they would have done otherwise. Of those who responded to this
question (n=117), the majority (47%, n=55) reported that they would have stayed
at home (see Figure 5.6 below).
Figure 5.6: Activity undertaken
if the respondent had not made current trip
the data suggests that the re-opening of the Borders Railway is a relatively
important factor in people’s decision to make tourism trips with over 70% of
respondents to the question stating that it was a factor in their decision to
make their journey and 25% stating that they would not have made their trip
were it not for the railway line. These figures are slightly higher than the
equivalent Year 1 figures (65% and 23% respectively).
What type of accommodation
is used by overnight tourists using the Borders Railway and how much do they
spend on accommodation?
The tourists who indicated that they
were making an overnight stay (13%, n=63) were also asked to provide details
of the accommodation which would be / had been used during their visit (see
Figure 5.7 below).
Figure 5.7: Accommodation type
used for overnight stays by trip destination
For those staying in Edinburgh,
the most common accommodation choice was staying with friends and / or family
(50%, n=9) followed by staying in an hotel (39%, n=7). Amongst those staying in
Midlothian and / or the Scottish Borders, staying with friends and / or family
was again the most popular option (71%, n=30) followed by staying in an hotel
(10%, n=4). It is noted, however, that the sample sizes for all options are
relatively small, particularly for those visiting Edinburgh.
The Year 2 data is broadly similar
to the Year 1 data. However, hotels were the most popular accommodation
amongst Edinburgh visitors in the Year 1 Survey, with visiting family and
friends the second most popular option. This difference may be a result of the
likely higher cost of accommodation at the time of the Year 2 Survey, taking
place during the Edinburgh Festival.
Figure 5.8 below shows the amount
spent on accommodation by those making overnight trips. This highlights
that the majority (56%, n=35) did not pay for accommodation with the proportion
who did not pay higher for those visiting Midlothian and / or the Scottish
Borders (58%, n=25) compared to those visiting Edinburgh (53%, n=10). In the
main those staying in Edinburgh were paying more for their accommodation than
those staying within the Scottish Borders and / or Midlothian.
Figure 5.8: Approximate amount
spent on overnight accommodation by those making overnight trips by trip
with friends and / or family was the most common accommodation type amongst
visitors to both Edinburgh and Midlothian / the Scottish Borders with a
slightly higher proportion of visitors to the latter choosing this option. Most
respondents indicated they did not pay for accommodation with the proportion
who did not pay being higher amongst those visiting the Scottish Borders and /
or Midlothian than those visiting Edinburgh
What activities are
undertaken by tourists using the Borders Railway and how much do they spend on
Figure 5.9 overleaf shows the activities
undertaken by tourist day trippers and those on overnight stays during
Overall, shopping was by far the
most popular choice of activity with 27% (n=239) of those who answered the
question selecting this option. Shopping was the most commonly cited activity
amongst those traveling to Edinburgh and the Scottish Borders / Midlothian
albeit a slightly larger proportion of those going to Edinburgh selected this
Amongst those visiting Edinburgh,
the next most popular activity was attending a music concert / theatre / art
festival reflecting the fact that the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was on at the
time of the survey. Amongst visitors to Scottish Borders / Midlothian, walking
was the next most popular activity.
Where respondents indicated that
they had visited a castle, museum, country park or visitor / heritage centre,
they were also asked to provide the name of the attraction they visited.
Popular sites amongst those visiting Midlothian and / or the Scottish Borders included
Abbotsford House, Melrose Abbey and Bowhill House whilst amongst those visiting
Edinburgh, Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, Camera Obscura, the National
Gallery and the Botanic Gardens were popular responses.
5.9: Activities undertaken by those making day trips or overnight trips
Figure 5.10 below shows the amount
spent (excluding accommodation and the train fare) on the trip by those
making day and overnight trips. As may be expected, those making overnight
stays spent more than day trippers and, as above, those taking a trip in
Edinburgh tended to spend more than those taking a trip in the Scottish Borders
5.10: Approximate amount spent excluding accommodation and train fare by those
making day and overnight trips by trips destination
undertook a range of activities during their trip with shopping the most
commonly cited activity. In terms of specific attraction, amongst those
visiting the Scottish Borders / Midlothian, responses included Abbotsford House
and Melrose Abbey whilst amongst respondents visiting Edinburgh responses
included Edinburgh Castle, the Botanic Gardens and Holyrood Palace.
How did visitors rate their
trip as a whole?
As shown in Figure 5.11, the
majority of visitors rated their trip as either very good (44%, n=210) or good
(36%, n=171), with a further 15% (n=70) stating that they had only just started
their trip and therefore could not provide a rating.
Figure 5.11: Overall Rating of
majority of visitors rated their trip as either very good or good.