Galloway and South Ayrshire is recognised worldwide for its excellence in sustainable development and that was highlighted last week.
At an event at Culzean Castle the area was officially given a UNESCO Biosphere certification mark - the first area in Scotland to achieve this status - and is now recognised internationally as a world class environment for people and nature.
It means that businesses using the certification mark can expect to attract a premium value and more discerning customers.
Ed Forrest, co-ordinator of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere said. “We believe our biosphere can provide a catalyst for new thinking; new economic opportunities, environmentally sustainable development, nature conservation and education.
“One of only 669 Biosphere’s worldwide and one of only two in Scotland, it offers a unique opportunity for the region through association with the globally recognised UNESCO Biosphere brand and its respected quality assurance.”
Dr Beth Taylor, chair of the UK National Commission for UNESCO said: “UNESCO’s Biosphere Reserves are the world’s only globally recognised designation for demonstrating excellence in sustainable development.
“Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere is leading the way in developing a quality mark linked to sustainability for businesses in the region.
“Congratulations on a great achievement.”
Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop, said: “This certification award from Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere is a significant development which aligns with our priority to further promote the south of Scotland and Ayrshire as a tourism destination. As the first area in Scotland to receive UNESCO Biosphere status and with its wide variety of natural landscapes, cultural heritage and wildlife, the biosphere has much to offer to local and international visitors.”