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£3m investment fund for boat-based tourism in Scotland

By Alan Hendry

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Leisure boat users in the marina at Wick harbour. Crown Estate Scotland says it wants to help coastal communities benefit from a revived tourism sector. Picture: Alan Hendry
Leisure boat users in the marina at Wick harbour. Crown Estate Scotland says it wants to help coastal communities benefit from a revived tourism sector. Picture: Alan Hendry

A £3 million fund has been launched to help promote the sustainable development of Scotland’s marine tourism sector.

The challenge investment fund from Crown Estate Scotland will also aid the green economic recovery for coastal communities that rely heavily on boat-based tourism.

It will help them to expand their ability to support the growth of marine tourism in their area, such as through providing new shore-based and harbour facilities.

This is the first of three challenge investment funds to be introduced by Crown Estate Scotland, with schemes for local partnerships and innovation with natural resources to follow.

Together the funds will total some £9 million, and will take the form of direct commercial investments by the organisation which manages Scotland’s seabed and around half the foreshore.

Crown Estate Scotland says it is committed to finding new and innovative ways of supporting the coastal economy.

Applications are encouraged from those who can demonstrate an ability to make a positive impact on boat-based tourism and have a strong track record of partnership working. The potential investments will range from £350,000 to £750,000 for projects that align with wider regional development priorities.

Andy Wells, director of property for Crown Estate Scotland, said: “It was always our intention to launch this fund as part of our wider commitment to support Scotland’s blue economy. But, with so many communities suffering from the pandemic’s impact on tourism and hospitality, we hope this is a timely announcement.

“People come from all over the world to enjoy Scotland’s seas and coastline, and we want to do all we can to help Scotland’s coastal communities fully benefit from a revived tourism sector.”

Scotland's tourism minister Ivan McKee said: “I’m very happy to hear of this investment from Crown Estate Scotland to support coastal communities in improving their local tourism infrastructure, and I would greatly encourage applications from those who could benefit.

“Many of these communities have been strongly impacted by the pandemic and this initiative will support long term economic recovery of coastal communities, increasing opportunities for enhanced visitor spend. As we begin to lift restrictions we are determined to do all we can to further develop sustainable tourism growth in Scotland.”

Alan Rankin, chief executive of Sail Scotland, said: “The fund has come at a critical time for the sector. Marine Tourism will play a key role in the sustainable recovery of the national economy and is recognised as the life blood of many rural coastal and island communities. This specific fund is most welcome and will drive vital investment into infrastructure and help build the quality of the world renowned boating and marine experiences around our shores.”

The full criteria and background information of the fund can be found at www.crownestatescotland.com

The process has also been designed to align with the Scottish marine tourism strategy, Giant Strides.

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