The national sailing tourism marketing organisation, Sail Scotland, is making a significant contribution to the industry according to a member survey published this week.
As the national industry body delivering marketing activity for sailing tourism businesses in Scotland, Sail Scotland is one of the core bodies behind the development of the National Marine Tourism Strategy – ‘Awakening the Giant’.
Huge progress has been made by Sail Scotland on a number of fronts over the past two years which is highlighted in the new report, including increased membership which has grown by over 30 percent, bringing total membership to over sixty businesses, and revenue is already up by over 70 percent.
Supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), Sail Scotland aims to increase the reach of marketing campaigns targeting domestic and international markets to attract more sailing visitors to Scotland.
Sail Scotland is run by Chief Executive Daniel Steel – a post supported by HIE. It is guided by a board of eight directors from the marine tourism industry in Scotland. Originally set up in 1994, the organisation has seen a positive turnaround in the last two years since Daniel’s appointment.
HIE has supported Sail Scotland including the post of the Chief Executive which has recently been extended to September 2016 to help maintain the momentum the organisation has achieved.
Support from HIE and other partners including VisitScotland and Scottish Canals, allows Sail Scotland’s marketing campaign to support the achievement of the national strategy’s ambition to grow the value of marine tourism to £450m by 2020.
Sail Scotland launched a new website earlier this year which forms a central element of its activity for the future and includes information such as news relating to sailing in Scotland, tides, navigation and events.
Chief executive Daniel Steel says progress is down to a collective effort. He said: “We have fantastic members and a strong, committed industry board. Over the past two years we have strengthened governance, grown revenue streams, built new strategic partnerships, created a new digital platform, and delivered international marketing campaigns generating over a million pounds of economic benefit to the Scottish economy.
“In 2013 we were not in a tough position, so I am delighted that members are seeing the benefits of all the hard work. It is remarkable that only 24 months on, our members are reporting that performance is very good across our key metrics, and we have just been voted as the best sailing destination in the world. We will not be resting on our laurels though. We have big plans for the next few years as we bring the entire marine industry together to work with one voice to market Scotland globally.”
Twenty-three members were surveyed in 2015 compared to 22 in 2013.
Ian Philp, Development Manager at HIE, added: “Funding from HIE has enhanced Sail Scotland. Having a well organised board and a Chief Executive who has produced great results has enabled the industry to have a louder voice. It has also brought together a fragmented industry of small businesses and relevant organisations and opened up sailing in Scotland to an international audience as well as national. We, at HIE are delighted to provide support to Sail Scotland and look forward to continuing to work with them in the future.”
Last week, it was also announced that Scotland was voted the ‘World’s Best Cruising Ground’ in the prestigious Sailing Today Awards – beating the warm weather destinations of Greece, Turkey, Canaries, and St Vincent and the Grenadines. Chairman of Sail Scotland, Gavin McDonagh, collected the award on behalf of the sailing sector in Scotland.