LOCAL businesses which attended a sailing tourism innovation workshop run by Scottish Enterprise are looking into developing a group to encourage further working together and product development.
Sailing tourism currently generates just over £100million a year for the Scottish economy and has potential to increase over the next ten years. With the establishment of James Watt Dock Marina, the continued success of Kip Marina and the area’s well established sailing clubs, Inverclyde businesses are thought to be well-placed to take advantage of both the facilities and the sailing waters of the west coast of Scotland.
To increase the potential of the economic value of sailing and water borne activity in the Inverclyde area, Scottish Enterprise has offered to provide support to help businesses form a Sailing Tourism Business Group and develop an area action plan.
Louise Vickers, project manager with Scottish Enterprise, said: “There are several examples in Scotland where businesses are working together to bring new products and services to market and to drive forward opportunities to enhance the visitor experience. Scottish Enterprise is delighted that businesses who attended one of our workshops have taken the opportunity to enhance their business offering by collaborating locally.”
Alistair Hardie from Inverkip Hotel, who attended the free workshop, said: “My time was very well spent at the workshop. There were a number of new, refreshing ideas coming out of it on many aspects of how we can enhance the local economy through businesses finding ways of working together.”
The project has been well received locally and has received support from many local businesses. Neil Lochiel from regeneration company Riverside Inverclyde said: “Local collaborations between marinas, charters, boat clubs, accommodation, transportation, entertainment, leisure, food and drink businesses can result in imaginative offerings, attracting more of the £39million annual West of Scotland sail tourism spend to Inverclyde, boosting the local economy.”
Cindy Robb of Clan Charters said: “Clan Charters is delighted to be involved in this initiative to promote Inverclyde as a first choice sailing destination and encourage other businesses to become involved.”
Helen McMeekin of Ocean Youth Trust Scotland added: “Eight hundred young people set sail with Ocean Youth Trust Scotland every year, with around half embarking on their adventures under sail right here from Inverclyde into the magnificent sailing area on our doorstep.”
For more information or to attend the next free workshop, contact Louise Vickers of Scottish Enterprise on 01387 245253 or Riverside Inverclyde’s Neil Lochiel on 755080.