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Dog Friendly

Go Girvan launches new dog friendly tourism campaign

Girvan is aiming to be one of Scotland’s most dog friendly towns

Campaign Background

Over recent years, dog tourism has become a rapidly growing sector, with more and more dog owners wanting to take their pets on holidays and day trips. Along with a boom in dog ownership post-Covid, the demand for dog friendly destinations has never been higher and is predicted to rise even more over the coming years.

At Go Girvan, we knew many dog owners visited the town to enjoy the natural scenery, including our award-winning beach. However, many of these visitors also wanted to eat, drink and shop in Girvan but were struggling to identify premises where their dogs would be welcome.

As locals, we knew that many premises were dog friendly but didn’t advertise it widely, meaning they were missing out on potential increased revenue from visiting dog owners. With Girvan town centre already suffering many economic challenges, encouraging dog owners to visit Girvan and spend locally seemed like a good way to support our high street.

Dog Friendly Sticker Scheme

We decided to introduce our own dog friendly sticker scheme and hand out free stickers to all the dog friendly businesses in town. By displaying them on windows or doors, visitors can easily identify which premises allow them to take their dogs inside.

Similar schemes in other parts of the UK have been highly successful, with the majority of business owners reporting an increase in profits thanks to additional footfall and spend from dog owners.

Our Go Girvan dog friendly stickers also have a QR code that links to a new dog friendly page on our website. The page lists all the participating businesses and attractions, along with location maps.

We were blown away by the initial demand for stickers, with over 20 businesses already displaying theirs. These include cafes, pubs, shops and attractions – most of them are independently owned and have appreciated the increased promotion and marketing they have received from Go Girvan.

Early feedback has been positive, with indications that footfall from dog owners has already increased. It is also hoped that recent local and national media coverage of our campaign will attract new visitors to the town. A significant number of comments on social media have been positive, with many people saying they now plan to visit Girvan due to its dog friendly status.

Responsible Dog Ownership

As part of our campaign, we will also be promoting responsible dog tourism. We are already working with the local dog warden to make sure owners bag and bin their poo through education and enforcement if necessary. New stencils have been sprayed around busy areas and complimentary poo bags are available from Girvan’s Tourist Information Point (which is also dog friendly), our Town Ambassadors and Biosphere Bikes.

But what about people that don’t feel comfortable around dogs for a variety of reasons? Girvan still has many dog-free spaces and businesses. By putting stickers up in premises that allow dogs, people can now make an informed decision about whether they want to go inside. Many of these businesses were already dog friendly and prior to having a sticker on display, visitors would be unaware that dogs may be on the premises.

Each business determines its own dog friendly policy, some with separate dog areas, and we will continue to monitor feedback from owners and visitors. We want everyone to feel welcome in Girvan, and in reality, not much has changed. The town has always been a very dog friendly destination, we are just promoting that aspect more widely.

With more and more towns improving their dog friendly offerings to capitalise on the growing tourism market, we don’t want Girvan to be left behind. We actually want to go even further, we want to make dogs feel as welcome as their owners with our ambition to be one of Scotland’s most dog friendly destinations!

Find all the places to eat, drink, shop, visit and stay with your dog on our dog friendly page.

If you are a dog friendly business and would like one of our free stickers and listed on our website, please e-mail [email protected]