Work is underway to awaken 'Scotland's sleeping giant'

Scotland’s sailing tourism is estimated to be worth £101million to the country’s economy – with very little strategic input.

Now plans are underway to awaken ‘Scotland’s sleeping giant’.

BMF Scotland, a group association of the British Marine Federation, has come together with the other industry experts, user groups, public agencies and enterprise bodies to develop a Marine Tourism Strategy for the country.
By 2020 they want Scotland to be distinguished “A marine tourism destination of first choice for high quality, value for money and memorable customer experience delivered by skilled and passionate people.”
The Scottish Marine Tourism Development Group (including industry groups, BMF Scotland, RYA Scotland and Sail Scotland as well as VisitScotland, The Crown Estate, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International, Scottish Canals, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and Firth of Clyde Forum) has produced this draft strategy.

The strategy is the first of its kind to identify a clear path forward with achievable step by step actions for sustainable growth of Scotland’s marine leisure sector.

Steven Dott, Highlands & Islands Enterprise’s (HIE) senior development manager said: ‘Given the massive growth potential of sailing tourism and the potential impacts on communities right across our region, one of our most important areas of work is to grow this sector.

‘Having a more coordinated approach across the sector will help build on recent investments in projects such as Portavadie, Stornoway, and across the Highlands and Islands.

‘BMF Scotland, RYA Scotland and Sail Scotland have played key roles in contributing to the growth and reputation of Scotland’s marine tourism businesses.

‘As a world class sailing destination, we at HIE on behalf of the enterprise agencies are delighted to provide financial assistance to continue this work at a critical time of the sector’s development.’

Scotland’s marine environment encompasses some of the world’s most beautiful and varied boating waters.

A survey has been launched to help shape this draft strategy.

Martin Latimer, Vice Chairman of BMF Scotland and Non-executive Director of Scottish Canals said: ‘Although the Scottish marine industry has been a major contributor to the tourism economy, only recently has the government and agencies grasped its real potential for growth. This strategy will inform, develop and raise the profile of our industry further.
‘To be fully representative, we are asking all those in the leisure marine industry or closely related to it to provide relevant input to the consultation. Thereby ensuring the strategy is the most accurate and powerful tool it can be in moving the industry forward in 2015 and beyond.’

The draft strategy was launched at Scotland’s Boat Show in October and the consultation process will run until January 2015.

To have your say on the ‘Awakening the Giant: A Strategic Plan for Scotland’s Marine Tourism Sector’ respond online at:

Pictures: MacLeod’s Maidens (credited to Chris Bashforth) and the Old Inn, Carbost; the Isle of Skye, situated off the West Coast of Scotland