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Scotland's Marine Tourism Conference 2018 - Organised by Sail Scotland

Hopes high for a marine tourism boost as Scotland twins with Sweden

Sweden Sail Scotland Sweden Sail Scotland Shirley Robertson

02 May 2018

A formal twinning agreement between Sail Scotland and The Swedish Guest Harbour’s Association has been announced at the 2018 Scottish Marine Tourism Conference. 

Scotland’s Marine Tourism Conference 2018 was opened by Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP. The event was brought to the Highlands and Islands for the first time and was held at The Moorings Hotel, set on the iconic Neptune’s Staircase at the western entrance to the Caledonian Canal.

Sail Scotland, the national sailing tourism marketing organisation, and Sweden's equivalent, Swedish Guest Harbours Association, plan to work closely together to co-promote boating opportunities in both countries. Following the announcement, delegates from Sweden toured Ayrshire's marinas and marine facilities including a visit to Troon Yacht Haven.

As part of the conference, double Olympic Gold Medallist Shirley Robertson OBE was announced as Sail Scotland's inaugural Honorary Ambassador.

Sail Scotland’s Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Steel, said: “Sailing tourism supports 2,700 jobs and has an economic value of £130 million, a growth of 28 per cent between 2010 and 2016. With identified potential to grow this to £167 million over the next few years, it is no surprise that there is huge interest in the sector.”

“We have developed and grown Scotland’s Marine Tourism Conference, now in its third year, to directly support of the National Marine Tourism Strategy. With over 100 delegates from across Scotland, and a delegation from Sweden, it has grown into a key annual event which inspires and challenges delegates to collaborate, innovate, and ensure that we work together to make the most of the opportunities ahead as we plan for Scotland’s Year of Coast and Water 2020.”

Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said: “With extensive coast lines and beautiful scenery, it is little surprise that tourism is one of Scotland’s key industries and biggest success stories – and marine tourism is fast becoming one of the driving forces behind that success."
“With the right infrastructure in place, community engagement and work of the public and private sector, future growth of marine tourism is sure to continue – and as this conference has demonstrated, there is no shortage of ideas about how we continue to move the sector forward.”

Sail Scotland’s collaborative work with West Highland College UHI also saw students from their Marine and Coastal Tourism Degree course help in delivering the conference, creating direct links between education and industry and supporting Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018.

Photographed are 1) Helena Pagoldh and Dick Netterlid of the Swedish Guest Harbour Association with Gavin McDonagh and Daniel Steel of Sail Scotland, and 2) Shirley Robertson OBE.

Photo courtesy of Scotland's Marine Tourism Conference 2018 © Sail Scotland. #SMTC2018