CLACKMANNANSHIRE "ticks all of the tourism boxes" according to the regional director of Scotland's national tourist organisation.

Neil Christison, VisitScotland regional director for Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire, made the claim as he reflected on a year of lockdowns.

He said: "The country can breathe a collective sigh of relief as the longed-for date marks more freedom to travel overnight, and, depending on local restrictions, the return of visitor attractions and eating out.

"In Clackmannanshire and the wider Forth Valley we have faced some huge challenges along with the rest of the country.

"The pandemic has had a devastating effect on tourism but I have been proud to witness the resilience of the industry as in the face of unprecedented times they've updated their operations and adapted to new protocol, giving visitors a sense of security.

"However, with the move towards re-opening we can also focus on reviving our strategical marketing to ensure visitors throughout Scotland and across the border know that Clackmannanshire ticks all of the tourism boxes."

Neil referred to the attractions across the Wee County and all it has to offer.

He continued: "Places like The Japanese Garden saw an increase in visitors when restrictions were eased last year, alongside a shift in its usual customer base to welcome more young families, with it hoped the same can be said again this year.

"With its fascinating place in Scotland's history, sprawling country parks, and innovative visitor attractions, Clackmannanshire has something for everyone."

However, he also reminded visitors about enjoying all Clacks has to offer in a responsible manner.

He added: "The litter dumped across Scotland could fill 50 of The Kelpies each year so it is essential that we all do our part to respect local communities while enjoying the spectacular places we have on our doorsteps, and not to put undue pressure on infrastructure, communities and our natural assets."