A major event looking at building and developing marine tourism in Scotland was held in North Ayrshire this week.

Organised by Sail Scotland, the Scotland Marine Tourism conference took place at Waterside Hotel in West Kilbride on Tuesday (19 March) It provided an opportunity for North Ayrshire Council to showcase the region and the work currently being carried out to enhance the marine offering.

It is hoped that the Ayrshire Growth Deal’s outline business case for a new marina in Cumbrae will be approved shortly and enhance the offering there.  If approved it will allow the Council to move forward with plans to create a transit marina which will make a huge difference to the sailing community. The event was part of the national Scottish Tourism Month Programme which takes place in March to bring the sector together to shine a light on the amazing opportunities we have here in Scotland.

The conference focussed on the marine tourism sector and was a unique opportunity for the whole industry, not just Sail Scotland members, to come together, learn, and network with others. As well as representatives from North Ayrshire Council, other organisations presenting on the day included: Sail Scotland, Holt Leisure Group, VisitScotland, Traveltech for Scotland, NatureScot, Scottish Canals, Wavysail Ocean Adventures and Argyll & the Isles Tourism Cooperativ

Councillor Tony Gurney, Cabinet member for Green Environment and Economy, said: “A big thanks to all our speakers and guests in what was a really informative and interesting day.

“Tourism is hugely significant sector here in North Ayrshire. Each year, we welcome approximately 1.4m visitors to North Ayrshire with the tourism and visitor economy supporting 3400 jobs.

“Marine tourism is a big part of that and we are always looking to maximise the offering we have along our coastlines. Meeting and networking with prominent stakeholders will only help us develop ideas as we move forward to develop the Ayrshire Growth Deal Marine Tourism Programme and exciting marine projects at Cumbrae and Arran.”