THE importance of tourism and agriculture in East Lothian have been highlighted at a special meeting.

Paul McLennan, East Lothian’s MSP, was recently joined by representatives from the local authority and agritourism businesses to discuss agritourism in the local economy.

Mr McLennan – former leader of East Lothian Council – described the meeting, which took place at the Brand Family farm at East Fortune, as “very positive”.

He told the Courier: “Tourism and agriculture are two incredibly important components of East Lothian’s economy.

“With the development of an effective strategy on agritourism, there is real potential to maximise the benefits agritourism has to offer for our county and communities, especially if considered as part of a partnership with growers, producers and visitor attractions.

“The Brand Family farm is an excellent example of an agricultural business that has contributed to the local economy for over 90 years. Their monthly outdoor markets, farm shop and caravan pitch sites are shining examples of agritourism.”

The site is also currently being considered as the location for a family farm theme park.

Plans, which have attracted a high level of representation from people in the area, have been lodged with East Lothian Council’s planning department.

Mr McLennan said: “The Scottish Government launched the Agritourism Sector Growth Strategy in November 2021.

“The strategy focuses on securing a long-term, sustainable, future Scottish agritourism that delivers a high-quality, authentic visitor experience with agriculture and food and drink at its core. I look forward to being part of future discussions on how East Lothian’s own agriculture strategy can feed into national ambitions.”