A new £1.9m venue is set to put Dumfries & Galloway on the ‘business events map’, according to national tourism agency bosses.
GG’s Yard, in Gatehouse of Fleet, is expected to inject millions into the economy of the south west of Scotland after it was unveiled to the world last night at a glittering opening ceremony.
Dignataries from across Scottish public life – including former Scotland rugby star and motor neurone disease campaigner Doddie Weir – attended the lavish bash at the brand new venue, which has created 30 jobs for the region.
It is hoped the new venue – which is being marketed as an events and conference space – will build on the 40,000 business trips which are already drawn to the region. Weddings are also a key market and couples from as far afield as New Zealand and Australia have already booked up.
The concept has been developed by business owners Duncan and Vicki McConchie who run the outdoor activity operation – Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre – which attracts 15,000 visitors annually and employs 13 people full time and 30 part time in peak season.
They wanted to make use of a disused steading on their family farm estate and hatched plans three years with the support of Scottish Enterprise.
The couple said: “We are absolutely thrilled to launch GG’s Yard this St Andrews Day as we believe this will be a great Scottish success story. We firmly believe this incredible, purpose-built events venue is one of its kind in the country because of its location and rustic appeal, offering such personal attention and we are delighted to already have bookings from within the UK and overseas.
“We look forward to working closely with local suppliers to put Scotland on the map for large-scale events in a rural location and make this a success story for everyone.”
The coastal events venue was previously a 250-year-old farm steading which spans 1,100 square metres and is located on a hillside boasting some of the most enviable seaviews in Scotland. The original court yard is now covered by a new extension and pitched, glass roof uniting the former outbuildings creating one complete structure. Smaller reception rooms are accessed from a main hall with a total capacity of 200 seated and 350 people for evening receptions.
Iain Scott, chief financial officer at Scottish Enterprise, who attended the opening, said: “The whole team at Laggan has worked exceptionally hard to take the business to the next level, which has included taking advantage of Scottish Enterprise support such as our Rural Leadership Programme. GG’s Yard is a fantastic addition to the local area, which will open up a new range of opportunities in areas such as corporate and international conferencing.”
VisitScotland Regional Director, Paula Ward, added: “The opening of this unique events space is an exciting addition to the business market in Dumfries & Galloway, as well as Scotland as a whole.
“Dumfries & Galloway currently attracts more than 40,000 business trips from the UK and around the world. The addition of this superb events and conferencing space is sure to put the region on the business events map. In fact, we have already seen the first success with confirmation that the International Adventure Conference will take place at Laggan Outdoor in 2019.
“Scotland’s reputation as a quality destination for visitors and businesses, relies on continued investment and innovation to ensure that current provision meets future demand. I wish the team at GG’s Yard and Laggan Outdoor Activity Centre the very best with their latest venture and it is great to hear that they have already received interest from around the world.”
For more information on GG’s Yard at Laggan Outdoor visit www.ggsyard.co.uk
Giles Atkinson Photography