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

Crown Estate Scotland has  launched a special fund to help promote the sustainable development of Scotland’s marine tourism sector.

The £3m challenge investment fund will also help aid the green economic recovery for coastal communities who rely heavily on boat-based tourism, by helping them to expand their ability to support the growth of marine tourism in their area, such as new shore-based and harbour facilities.

It is the first of three challenge investment funds set to be launched by Crown Estate Scotland, with schemes for local partnerships and innovation with natural resources to follow. Together the funds will total approximately £9m, and will take the form of direct commercial investments by Crown Estate Scotland.

As the manager of Scotland’s seabed plus around half the foreshore, Crown Estate Scotland is committed to finding new and innovative ways of supporting the coastal economy, especially after what has been such a difficult time for coastal communities who rely on being able to attract visitors.

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.”

Minister for Tourism 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 at 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.”

Martin Latimer and Simon Limb, Joint Chairmen of British Marine, said: “ Scotland British Marine Scotland have been working closely, at a strategic level, with Crown Estate Scotland for many year to strengthen Scotland’s marine tourism offer, known for bringing valuable revenue to the  Scottish islands and remote coastal  and waterside settlements. The sector’s ambition to increase its contribution to the Scottish economy to over £1/2bn recognises the importance of investment in capital projects and the catalytic effect this has on business & community development. The Scottish Marine Tourism Strategy, Giant Strides, has the development stronger communities and sustainable businesses at its heart and consequently the fund for the development of Boat-Based Tourism is greatly appreciated by our organisation”.

The full criteria and background information of the fund can be found here. The process has also been designed to align with the Scottish marine tourism strategy Giant Strides. The criteria reflects feedback received from a consultation which was previously carried out by Crown Estate Scotland.

All enquiries to the fund should be submitted to BBTFund@crownestatescotland.com.

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