Skip to main content

New raft of funding for sailing tourism

Press Release   •   Feb 10, 2017 10:01 GMT

Clyde Challenger. Picture: Marc Turner

Three public agencies have joined forces to establish Scotland as a top global destination for sailing.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), VisitScotland, and Scottish Development International (SDI) are providing a £140,000 package of support for industry body, Sail Scotland.

The move forms part of Scotland’s marine tourism strategy, ‘Awakening the Giant’, which aims to increase the value of sailing tourism in Scotland.

Success depends on businesses reaching key international markets and promoting Scotland as a top global destination for sailing.

A £113,000 investment from HIE over the next three years is enabling Sail Scotland to acquire and maintain the skills, expertise and resources necessary to lead and build ambition within sailing tourism businesses and fully represent and market the sector.

Additional funding from the VisitScotland Growth Fund (£22,500) and SDI (£11,900) will support Sail Scotland’s marketing strategy.

This includes its social media campaign, ‘Legendary Sailing’, and greater profile for Scotland at international boat shows. The first of these, BOOT Holland, begins today (Friday 10 February). Others include shows in Stockholm and Paris.

A recent report revealed that Scotland’s sailing tourism supports 2,700 jobs and has an economic value of £130 million, a growth of 28 per cent between 2010 and 2016. The Sailing Tourism in Scotland report, produced by the Crown Estate, HIE and Scottish Canals, identified the potential for this to grow to £167 million over the next seven years.

Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The Scottish Government see huge potential in the development of the marine and coastal tourism sector and share the enthusiasm of the industry to develop and grow.

“The Marine Tourism Strategy ‘Awakening the Giant’ recognises the fantastic assets Scotland has, the potential for growth and the need for co-ordination and strategic input. The Scottish Government will continue to play an active role in helping the tourism sector as a whole to develop further.”

Chris Taylor, HIE’s Head of Tourism, said: “Scotland, and particularly the Highlands and Islands, is gaining international recognition as a world class sailing destination. Growing numbers of people come here to enjoy some of the finest sailing in the world. This brings very valuable revenue, particularly to many coastal and island communities.

“The opportunity to grow this sector further and create an additional 700 jobs for Scotland is vitally important not only to Highlands and Islands but the rest of Scotland and our support to Sail Scotland reflects this.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Scotland’s marine tourism sector is already collaborating to help bring additional business, jobs and prosperity to communities around the entire coastline of Scotland and along our inland waterways. We are delighted, therefore, to help Sail Scotland continue to promote the country’s outstanding sailing opportunities through the VisitScotland Growth Fund.”

Daniel Steel, Chief Executive Officer of Sail Scotland, said: “This is a tangible example of how private industry is playing a leading role in delivering growth through the national marine tourism strategy. We work collaboratively on behalf of businesses the length and breadth of Scotland, all investing time, money and effort to grow Scotland’s tourism economy.

“This support from our strategic partners shows that they have confidence in us to deliver, and it will help us to grow our efforts to bring even more visitors from the UK and overseas to enjoy our world-class sailing and boating offer. Over the next year alone we will invest in new digital marketing, and target key European audiences at Boat Shows – all designed to deliver economic benefit stretching out into fragile, rural economies all around the country.”

Alan Rankin, Project Manager of the Marine Tourism Strategy Development Group, said: “Scottish sailing waters are world-renowned and the additional resource to undertake targeted promotional activity will showcase the sailing riches Scotland has to offer. The continued investment in the Marine Tourism sector is greatly welcomed and will help maintain our profile in a competitive marketplace.”

For more information about sailing in Scotland, go to

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business events in Scotland go to
    2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit or join the conversation at #HHA2017