Date published: 10 February 2017

Three public agencies have joined forces to establish Scotland as a top global destination for sailing.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), VisitScotland, and Scottish Development International (SDI) are providing a £140,000 package of support for industry body, Sail Scotland.

The move forms part of Scotland’s marine tourism strategy, ‘Awakening the Giant’, which aims to increase the value of sailing tourism in Scotland.

Success depends on businesses reaching key international markets and promoting Scotland as a top global destination for sailing.

A £113,000 investment from HIE over the next three years is enabling Sail Scotland to acquire and maintain the skills, expertise and resources necessary to lead and build ambition within sailing tourism businesses and fully represent and market the sector.

Additional funding from the VisitScotland Growth Fund (£22,500) and SDI (£11,900) will support Sail Scotland’s marketing strategy.

This includes its social media campaign, ‘Legendary Sailing’, and greater profile for Scotland at international boat shows. The first of these, BOOT Holland, begins today (Friday 10 February). Others include shows in Stockholm and Paris.

A recent report revealed that Scotland’s sailing tourism supports 2,700 jobs and has an economic value of £130 million, a growth of 28 per cent between 2010 and 2016. The Sailing Tourism in Scotland report, produced by the Crown Estate, HIE and Scottish Canals, identified the potential for this to grow to £167 million over the next seven years.

Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:The Scottish Government see huge potential in the development of the marine and coastal tourism sector and share the enthusiasm of the industry to develop and grow.

“The Marine Tourism Strategy ‘Awakening the Giant’ recognises the fantastic assets Scotland has, the potential for growth and the need for co-ordination and strategic input. The Scottish Government will continue to play an active role in helping the tourism sector as a whole to develop further.”

Chris Taylor, HIE’s Head of Tourism, said:Scotland, and particularly the Highlands and Islands, is gaining international recognition as a world class sailing destination. Growing numbers of people come here to enjoy some of the finest sailing in the world. This brings very valuable revenue, particularly to many coastal and island communities.

“The opportunity to grow this sector further and create an additional 700 jobs for Scotland is vitally important not only to Highlands and Islands but the rest of Scotland and our support to Sail Scotland reflects this.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Scotland’s marine tourism sector is already collaborating to help bring additional business, jobs and prosperity to communities around the entire coastline of Scotland and along our inland waterways. We are delighted, therefore, to help Sail Scotland continue to promote the country’s outstanding sailing opportunities through the VisitScotland Growth Fund.”

Daniel Steel, Chief Executive Officer of Sail Scotland, said: “This is a tangible example of how private industry is playing a leading role in delivering growth through the national marine tourism strategy. We work collaboratively on behalf of businesses the length and breadth of Scotland, all investing time, money and effort to grow Scotland’s tourism economy.

“This support from our strategic partners shows that they have confidence in us to deliver, and it will help us to grow our efforts to bring even more visitors from the UK and overseas to enjoy our world-class sailing and boating offer. Over the next year alone we will invest in new digital marketing, and target key European audiences at Boat Shows – all designed to deliver economic benefit stretching out into fragile, rural economies all around the country.”

Alan Rankin, Project Manager of the Marine Tourism Strategy Development Group, said: “Scottish sailing waters are world-renowned and the additional resource to undertake targeted promotional activity will showcase the sailing riches Scotland has to offer. The continued investment in the Marine Tourism sector is greatly welcomed and will help maintain our profile in a competitive marketplace.”