Ambitious plans to make Scotland “a marine tourism destination of first choice for high-quality, value for money and memorable customer experience” by 2020 were launched during Scottish Tourism Week.
Marine tourism already generates over £101 million of visitor expenditure, directly supporting almost 2,730 jobs. Despite receiving little formal coordination or strategic input, the marine sector has become a valuable one. According to a 2014 study conducted by the British Marine Foundation (BMF), Scotland’s marine tourism sector in Scotland is valued at £360 million.
While some parts of the marine tourism sector – cruising, for example - are well established with their own strategies and industry groups, other key sectors such as sailing and boating had no strategic framework.
The largely unaided development of the sector has attracted attention throughout Scotland’s marine tourism industry and, following consultation with its key bodies and constituent groups, resulted in the creation of the Strategic Framework to build upon these strong foundations and grow sustainable marine tourism.
The Strategic Framework for Scotland’s Marine Tourism Sector, titled ‘Awakening the Giant', aims to focus on developing and driving the growth of sailing tourism in Scotland. Its target is to achieve visitor expenditure of £145m and increase the sector’s overall economic value to over £450m by 2020.
This will be delivered by focusing on three core themes:
- Providing authentic experiences
- Improving the customer journey
- Building our capabilities
The strategy aims to maximise the economic input of marine tourism for both Scotland and the marine industry and its businesses by growing the number, length of stay and value of the sector’s tourists.
The Strategic Framework and detailed Action Plan, the latter to be developed prior to the Autumn Marine Tourism Seminar in 2015, will be led by the industry, and co-ordinated and monitored by the Scottish Marine Tourism Development Group (SMTDG).
To be successful in growing Scotland’s marine tourism sector in a way which is both sustainable and adheres to the targets of the Tourism Scotland 2020 national tourism strategy, stakeholder commitment is vital.
The Strategic Framework will work collaboratively to help businesses and organisations constantly improve their product and visitor experiences. This will be achieved by working in partnership with the industry and public sector, through relevant clubs, associations, communities and businesses and identifying appropriate funding streams to support growth.
A detailed Action Plan will be developed prior to the Autumn Marine Tourism Seminar in 2015.
For further information see the Tourism Intelligence Scotland ‘Sailing tourism in Scotland’ guide