New Forest Holidays eco-tourism development to deliver economic boost to Borders

New Forest Holidays eco-tourism development to deliver economic boost to Borders

A new £18million sustainable tourism development in the Tweed Valley is set to bring a host of significant benefits to the Scottish Borders.

Forest Holidays have begun groundwork to create 56 environmentally sensitive cabins at Glentress Forest near Peebles, which will see 50 FTE jobs created during the works and 25.5 FTE jobs on-site once the location opens to guests.

The company’s plans have been backed by South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), who have provided £2.6million towards the project, as well as Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) with the site part of its award-winning Glentress Masterplan.

  • Forest Holidays estimates the new cabin location will increase the number of visitors to the Borders by 20,000 per year.
  • Total guest expenditure to off-site facilities in the Borders is expected to generate over £2m annually, while Forest Holidays also estimated that its purchases of high quality food and drink through producers will be around £250,000 each year.
  • The new cabin location is expected to open for the winter 2024 season.
Glentress Masterplan

The Glentress Masterplan sets out a vision for Glentress to be a well-integrated, multi-user destination that offers a world-class visitor experience for all visitors, delivering a positive step change for the Tweed Valley as a top visitor destination.

What will the cabins be like?

Forest Holidays cabins are architecturally designed to fit sensitively within the woodland environment. Their forest-centred approach to development, design and integration uses extremely low impact and ecologically sensitive methods and techniques to help the cabins blend into the forest, retaining and enhancing the woodland, its wildlife and their habitats.

Representatives from Forest Holidays, SOSE and Forestry and Land Scotland met with Small Business, Innovation and Trade Minister, Richard Lochhead MSP, on Wednesday 10 May 2023 to mark SOSE’s investment in the Glentress development.

Small Business, Innovation and Trade Minster Richard Lochhead said:

“Tourism is one of Scotland’s most important industries and Forest Holidays’ new eco-tourism development is projected to draw thousands of new visitors to the Scottish Borders as part of the Glentress Masterplan.

“In addition to increasing tourism and the potential for overnight stays, this development will create new jobs and economic opportunities for the surrounding communities.

“Sustainability is at the core of Scotland’s Tourism National Strategy, Outlook 2030, and this project is an example of the Scottish Government’s commitment to supporting a resilient, sustainable and inclusive tourism economy for the future.”

Andrew Brook, Director of Sustainable Growth at Forest Holidays, said:

“We are proud to play a part in creating a sustainable tourism destination in the Scottish Borders.

“Our environmentally sensitive cabin location will provide space in nature for people to stay overnight in a well-managed, ecologically diverse, and quiet forest environment, which in turn will support the forest for years to come.”

Professor Russel Griggs, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise, added:

“The Glentress Masterplan aims to help reinvigorate the Tweed Valley and the South of Scotland more widely as a major visitor destination and investments such as Forest Holidays are a major step to supporting this aim.

“The eco-tourism development will play a key role in developing Glentress’ already impressive facilities – which will go on show to the world this summer as part of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships.”

FLS South Region Manager, John Dougan, said:

“Realisation of all of the elements in the Glentress Masterplan will deliver a significant boost to the local area that will ripple out across the Tweed Valley and the wider Borders area for many years to come.”