West Coast Waters
The West Coast Marine Tourism Collaboration is a consortium of twenty two West Coast Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) and marketing groups, from Lewis and Wester Ross to Arran and Cumbrae. Each has volunteered funding support for an ambitious marketing campaign to encourage people from across Scotland and the UK to experience the west coast during 2020 Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters. The aim is to generate a lasting legacy for the coast.
Figure 1: Areas covered by the West Coast Waters West Coast Marine Tourism Collaboration. © West Coast Waters Scotland 2020.
West Coast Waters originated in 2017 following a learning journey to Sweden and inspired by the announcement that 2020 would be Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters. A team of local development agents (a network of tourism sector agents and consultants) scoped out what marine tourism has to offer on the west coast. This was carried out on behalf of the West Coast Marine Tourism Collaboration and funded by HIE. A steering group with representation from the DMOs, Calmac, VisitScotland, SailScotland, HIE, University of Highlands and Islands West Highland College and local authority partners, provided governance. The conclusions of all this work produced an extensive inventory of 300 hubs (locations) where people can get on and off the water and, importantly, set out the experiences that are available and whether the hub could be categorised as ‘2020-ready’ (i.e. ready for potential increased toursim traffic in 2020 as a result of the Year of Coasts and Waters publicity). One hundred of the hubs give access to a seafood experience, 120 give access to a castle or heritage attraction, 44 to a distillery open to the public and 106 offer excellent marine wildlife spotting opportunities. There are also about 500 operators and clubs providing marine experiences from these hubs both for members and the wider public.
The formal launch was in September 2019 with seven bloggers visiting different areas across the west coast over 7-10 days and experiencing the roads less travelled. A fortnightly West Coast Waters sunset trail Instagram competition shared inspirational video and imagery by campaign partners. A toolkit was created to help DMOs and businesses engage with the public through marketing via common themed branding and specifically focusing on collaboration with other local businesses to encourage tourists to stay in an area.
Figure 2: Images of the west coast. © West Coast Waters Scotland 2020.
North Coast 500
The branding of the coastal route around Scotland’s far north by the North Highland Initiative, as the North Coast 500, has brought an increase in visitors, greater economic spend, and a reduction in seasonality along the north west and north coasts. Northcoast500.com provides information on activities along this route, travel information and suggested itineraries.
Figure 3: North Coast 500 passes alongside three Scottish Marine Regions.