At the beginning of 2014, a British Marine Federation study showed that marine tourism in Scotland was worth an annual direct and indirect GVA of £366 million per annum and almost 10,000 jobs (FTE). There is no question that Scotland’s coast and waters are a key part of the Scottish tourism experience, and that Scotland offers spectacular sailing and boating for all abilities, but are we making the most of it? Could we be doing more to encourage longer stays and more spending by offering an even better experience?
These are the questions which the sector’s key industry, marketing and user groups are trying to unpick through the development of a marine tourism strategy which will be available for consultation in autumn this year.
The strategy aims to put existing activities into context and identify the areas where the industry’s energy and other resources can best be applied to grow the market. The strategy is being developed in line with the national tourism strategy – Tourism Scotland 2020 – under four key themes:
• Growth Markets: understanding the requirements of current and potential sailing and boating guests and ensuring a focussed approach to marketing;
• Developing Authentic Experiences: adding value to existing products through the addition of food and drink, events and festivals and cruising routes;
• Improving the Customer Journey: improving access to information, equipping businesses to welcome and cater for marine tourists, developing a network of facilities to meet customers’ needs;
• Building Capabilities: supporting the sector through leadership, ensuring appropriate infrastructure and raising skills.
The Marine Tourism Strategy Steering Group is made up of the following organisations, all of whom have made a commitment to work together to grow the sector: British Marine Federation Scotland, Sail Scotland, RYA Scotland, Scottish Canals, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Crown Estates, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Scottish Development International, VisitScotland.
The group will be working on the draft strategy over the summer so that in autumn we can ask for your views, and also ask how you can play your part. If you’d like any more information about the group, contact Caroline Warburton at Scottish Tourism Alliance.