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Scotland celebrate £1.3m boost

A campaign to encourage more people to enjoy a sailing holiday in Scotland has boosted the country’s economy by £1.3 million, Business and Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing announced today (Friday 9 October 2015).

Speaking at Scotland’s Boat Show at Kip Marina, Inverkip, Mr Ewing said Sail Scotland – the national marketing organisation for sailing tourism – had generated the extra income following a grant from the VisitScotland Growth Fund last year. The group also received funding from Scottish Development International.

The £22,500 award from VisitScotland allowed Sail Scotland to extend its reach in the global market by exhibiting at a number of international boat shows during 2015. This included targeted work in Dusseldorf, Gothenburg, Lillestrom and Wales.

Following its heightened profile on the world stage, Scotland was last month named ‘World’s Best Cruising Ground’ in the prestigious Sailing Today Awards.

The year-long marketing activity – Sailing to Success – also included development of the Sail Scotland brand and targeted promotional campaigns with top brands including Talisker Whisky and outdoor clothing company Musto.

The campaign is estimated to have generated an additional 8,519 visitor boat nights from key target markets, delivering £1,320,445 of additional expenditure into the Scottish economy. This exceeded the target of the campaign by nearly 150 boat nights.

Business and Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said: “I am delighted to be here today opening Scotland’s Boat Show, the largest in Scotland. Marine tourism makes an important contribution to Scotland’s economy.  Boating is a great activity for everyone, regardless of age, circumstance or ability, helping people realise their true potential. Scotland provides so many opportunities for marine leisure and I would encourage everyone to try it.”

Gavin McDonagh, Chairman of Sail Scotland, said: “This clearly demonstrates how we can deliver growth and support delivery of the national marine tourism strategy. Over the past year we have delivered one of the most ambitious marketing plans in our history, bringing new visitors to our waters from across Europe and cementing Scotland’s place as a world-class sailing destination. The funding assisted greatly in achieving these ambitions and I know that with greater in investment in marketing, we can grow the industry even further in future years.”

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “I would like to congratulate Sail Scotland on this fantastic achievement. With thousands of miles of stunning coastline and hundreds of islands just crying out to be explored, Scotland really is the perfect destination for a sailing holiday. The VisitScotland Growth Fund encourages tourism businesses to work together and Sail Scotland is a perfect example of this. Incorporating the smallest charter companies to the biggest marinas, the group already does an excellent job of promoting sailing holidays in Scotland and we were thrilled to help its members expand their reach in the global market.”

Awakening the Giant, A Strategic Framework for Scotland’s Marine Tourism Sector, provides the opportunity to grow the sector further, in-line with the national tourism strategy – Tourism Scotland 2020.

The ambition is to increase the value of marine tourism from £360m to £450m and increase sailing tourism from £101m to £145m by 2020.

Representatives from the marine tourism sector will attend a symposium at the Scottish Parliament on 20 November to learn more about progress towards achieving this ambition.