THE leaders of Dundee's £1 billion Waterfront regeneration project have scheduled a series of roadshows to encourage hospitality operators to invest in the city.

The events, in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen next week, are being held as the project nears the halfway stage. It is transforming an 8km stretch of the River Tay in the city centre on the back of a host of commercial infrastructure and leisure investments, the centrepiece of which is a new V&A Museum, scheduled to open in 2017. With the work expected to result in Dundee attracting an estimated 300,000 extra visitors, its architects say the city will need more bars and restaurants to cater for the anticipated influx.

Waterfront director Allan Watt said: "We need more businesses in advance of the surge in visitor numbers that will accelerate in the next year or so. We would encourage entrepreneurs to engage with the business community by opening new restaurants, bars and cafes."

The investor roadshows are taking place in Aberdeen on December 9, in association with commercial property firm Ryden, and in Edinburgh and Glasgow on December 11, both in partnership with law firm MacRoberts. Among those backing the campaign to attract hospitality investors to Dundee are operators Paul McMillan, Jonathan Horne and Andrew McMahon.

Mr McMillan, whose Castlehill restaurant won a two-star AA rosette within six months of opening this year, said: "Dundee needs more hospitality businesses to invest in the city and ensure the additional 300,000 extra visitors per annum are provided with a comprehensive range of services.

"There is a fantastic business opportunity, but we need more entrepreneurs to help make Dundee an outstanding hospitality city."

Willie MacLeod of the British Hospitality Association in Scotland, which is also supporting the campaign, said: "Dundee has the potential to become a great hospitality city with hospitality, tourism and leisure set to be major industries. We estimate Dundee already supports about 6500 direct and 3000 indirect hospitality jobs, representing more than 13 per cent of city employment.

"A wealth of new business opportunities will emerge from these growing industries, stimulated by the Waterfront initiative and the V&A Dundee development."

New office blocks, a marina and commercial quayside facilities have been developed or under construction at the Waterfront, in addition to investment in the area's hotel stock.

The work is already convincing companies to set up in Dundee as city benefits from an Aberdeen "overspill" factor, which is also boosting hotel occupancy rates.

Planners have identified the need for a further 500 hotel rooms in the city to accommodate the expected growth in leisure and business visitors to the city.

A luxury Malmaison hotel has already opened near the Waterfront as part of the masterplan, while Apex Hotels plans to develop a five-star property in the historic Custom House building.

Budget hotel operator Sleeperz has also confirmed it will run a hotel at the city's revamped train station.