North Ayrshire Council (NAC) has been awarded £400,000 to develop tourism across its island and coastal destinations.
Marine and coastal tourism is a key part of Scotland’s tourism sector, providing employment for 28,300 people.
The Coig - Gaelic for five - touring route initiative will provide the west coast of Scotland, the Firth of Clyde and islands with a new opportunity to brand and promote itself to national and international visitors.
The funding will complement the region’s tourism strategy Making Waves and support further development and promotion of Ayrshire through support for events.
2020 has been designated as the Year of Coasts and Waters, organised to inspire responsible engagement and inclusive participation from visitors and locals, and encourage them to experience all that Scotland’s shores have to offer.
Speaking at West Kilbride’s Sail Scotland conference, Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP said:
“Marine tourism makes an enormous contribution to Scotland’s tourism industry and all it has to offer. This £400,000 investment will raise the profile of Ayrshire as a major player in tourism.
“We have already invested £770,000 to support Year of Coasts and Waters events, showcasing and celebrating all that Scotland’s coasts, sea, rivers, lochs and canals have to offer.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“The SNP Government is keen to help support businesses involved in tourism to make the most of the opportunities they create, ensuring they are sustainable and make a positive impact on the environment, society and economy.
“With COVID-19 impacting foreign travel, many more people will this year stay in Scotland. Whilst overseas visitors will be sorely missed and precautions mean Scotland will not be fully open even for domestic tourists, we still have much to offer.”
Councillor Alex Gallagher, Cabinet Member for Economy at NAC added:
“North Ayrshire Council is delighted with the Scottish Government’s funding announcement which will help boost the marine tourism sector in North Ayrshire and across Ayrshire.
“The Year of Coasts and Waters is a time to celebrate and showcase our beautiful and diverse coast and islands. Exciting initiatives such as The Coig tourism route will support our local businesses and communities by helping to boost visitor numbers into our towns and villages; with our Ayrshire Growth Deal marine tourism projects and our Making Waves Festival, we are committed to put Ayrshire on the map nationally and internationally.”