Roving robot TA-M to encourage more holidaymakers to visit the South Of Scotland

TA-M, The South of Scotland Adventure Module, at Loch Trool in Newton Stewart Dumfries & Galloway

A SPECIALLY designed robot called TA-M is spearheading a new ‘Curiosity Starts Here’ marketing campaign being launched to showcase the myriad attractions of the beautiful, unspoilt South of Scotland to new audiences around the UK.

TA-M (The South of Scotland Adventure-Module) is part of a new marketing campaign from the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA). Its goal is to attract more visitors to a region encompassing the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway that remains relatively undiscovered by many holidaymakers across the UK.

The ‘Curiosity Starts Here’ campaign featuring TA-M, which is promoted across the SSDA’s consumer-facing Scotland Starts Here platform, will run across out-of-home adverts, radio slots and social media.

The creation of TA-M and the campaign, which has been devised by The Union, a Scottish marketing and digital agency, was inspired by NASA’s robot geologists and their missions to explore Mars and report back on new discoveries.

A launch video featuring TA-M has been created revealing landmarks and attractions, from vast, sandy beaches to stunning star-lit skies and distilleries, and encounters with locals across the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway. 

Highlights include TA-M being fitted for some fetching knitwear at Johnston’s of Elgin in Hawick, visiting the beach and greeting surfers at Coldingham Bay in Berwickshire, sampling some fresh and tasty treats at Wilson’s Farm and Kitchen near Kelso and marvelling at the Dark Skies starscape in Galloway Forest Park.

TA-M’s exploration exploits and the warm welcome he receives as he continues his journey will be captured in video footage to be screened across social media channels as well as on digital billboards in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Newcastle.

TA-M is planning to explore the region further and locals and holidaymakers are encouraged to share their photos and discoveries of great places to visit via the Scotland Starts Here site, which will be publicised on social media and local press.

Ross McAuley, chief executive of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance, said: “The South of Scotland is arguably one of the most unspoilt and stunningly beautiful parts of the UK. There’s so much to see, do and explore in the region – it’s one of the few parts of the country you can still truly discover. The area offers stunning beaches and coastline, delicious local food and drink, fascinating history and heritage, adventurous activities and a wealth of nature and wildlife.

“As part of our new ‘Curiosity Starts Here’ Campaign, TA-M is designed to inspire countless future visitors to experience all our region has to offer. You might say, ‘One small step for TA-M, many giant adventures for mankind!'”

“I believe the South of Scotland could be the best sustainable tourism destination in the UK, with the added advantage of the peace and quiet to take it all in and escape the crowds. Our focus is on encouraging sustainable and manageable growth in tourism. We aim to support the local economy and communities across the region.”

Mairi Gougeon, MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands, said: “Tourism is vital to the Scottish economy, especially in our more rural areas, such as the South of Scotland. As we emerge from the pandemic, we have to do all we can to support our rural businesses, and attracting visitors is more important than ever. I welcome the ‘Curiosity Starts Here’ Campaign, including the innovative robot T-AM, and I’m sure it will help put the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway firmly on the map.”

Annique Armstrong, VisitScotland’s interim Regional Director said: “The South of Scotland is a beautiful part of the country offering a diverse range of experiences for visitors. With its stunning coastline, unspoiled landscape, fantastic food and drink and exciting festivals and events, this unique campaign will help open up the region to new audiences.” 

“This campaign will provide a boost to local tourism businesses and support the recovery of this vital part of Scotland’s economy.”

Research commissioned by SSDA from consultancy Yonder and published earlier this year found the South of Scotland has many of the attractions of such tourist hotspots as Cornwall and the Cotswolds, but also offers the added bonus of peace and quiet.

Based on the survey of more than 3,400 people, a group called ‘metropolitan adventurers’, a target market worth £2.1 billion, was identified who are looking for breaks to switch off from day-to-day life.

Ross McAuley added: “We believe metropolitan adventurers, and many others, including activity seekers and more laid-back explorers, can enjoy the holidays of their dreams in our largely untapped region.”

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