Dundee will become one of the UK’s must-visit destinations once the V&A opens, according to one of the country’s tourism chiefs.
Jim Clarkson, regional director for VisitScotland, said the completion of the V&A and other attractions in Tayside and Fife will help propel the area into the top tier of holiday destinations for visitors from home and abroad.
The £80.1 million museum now dominates the waterfront but although its shape is now visible, it will be months before its exterior is completed.
The final formwork shutters were removed on Wednesday and the painstaking task of attaching the outer cladding to the Kengo Kuma-designed building will now begin.
A total of 2,250 stone panels will be hung on the exterior walls to create the appearance of a cliff face over the course of the year.
The panels are made in moulds, each of which can weigh up to 3,000 kg and span up to four metres.
The roof of the building will also be completed this spring and the cofferdam, which allows building work to take place above water, will be removed in the summer.
The museum will then be fitted out internally before opening to the public next year.
Jim Clarkson, VisitScotland regional director, said Dundee is on the “cusp of a tourist transformation” and that work is already underway to market the area to visitors from the UK and overseas.
He said the V&A would attract tourists to Tayside and said he is confident Dundee will become a leading destination within the UK.
Mr Clarkson said: “The V&A and waterfront are a massive attractor but we need to think about the destination – when people come they don’t think about boundaries they want to know what else they can do, whether that is affiliated with the V&a or for their families.
“A lot of this is not just about Dundee, although it’s fantastic for Dundee and Dundee businesses, if you’re in Perth and Kinross, Angus or Fife it is an enormous opportunity.”
Mr Clarkson added possible itineraries are already being developed for visitors who come to Dundee once the V&A opens.
He said: “With the trade we can’t wait until 2018 so are already looking at packages for them.”
Philip Long, director of V&A Dundee, said: “Everyone working on V&A Dundee is thrilled to see the museum’s construction progress so well, with all of the formwork that supported the building now removed.
“Throughout this year we will see the pre-cast stone panels being hung from the walls, bringing to life Kengo Kuma’s vision for the museum that is inspired by the beautiful cliffs of north-eastern Scotland.
“Our partners in the city always planned for V&A Dundee to be a world-class building that attracts international attention to our city. We can now begin to see what a remarkable piece of architecture it is, and how this museum will help put Dundee on the map for tourism and investment.”
Dundee City Council administration leader Councillor Ken Guild said: “There was a terrific feeling of excitement when the outline of the building emerged from the support scaffolding. This latest development will allow everyone to see the final stages of this fantastic building taking shape.
“This unique structure has already made a tremendous physical impact from both sides of the Tay and these images have been transmitted worldwide.
“The aspirational V&A Dundee project is designed to provide the city and Scotland with a world-class museum, which will help to provide jobs and wider economic benefits.”