Drive to attract superyachts to the west coast of Scotland

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 08:53:00 GMT

Superyachts could appear regularly along the west coast of Scotland thanks to a new drive to market the shoreline as one of the most attractive cruising destinations in the world.

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) researchers are partners in Cool Route, a European-funded programme to develop a new yacht cruising route, will be promoted internationally and will have a distinct branding, booking and information system.

Part of the strategy includes attracting superyachts to the area to help remote, local businesses share in Scotland’s £3.7 billion marine tourism industry.

A superyacht owned by US billionaire Richard DeVos was spotted moored in Greenock this summer, while the Eclipse, a 163.5metre vessel owned by Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich, was seen in Inverclyde and Rothesay in the summer of 2015.

Now an invitational brochure targeting superyachts has been produced and small businesses are being urged to register for free on an online platform, which aims to link local enterprises to their ports and provide information on what’s available, by way of food and drink, entertainment, things to do and places to visit.

GCU’s Moffat Centre is providing logistical, business and marketing support to help increase the number of vessels visiting Scotland and bring wealthy tourists onshore.

Giancarlo Fedeli, principal investigator for the Cool Route at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: “One specific part of the project is to target superyachts and a lot of marketing activity will aim at this particular segment. There’s higher spending there.

“We are aiming at small and medium enterprises and trying to get them involved in the booking website, so visitors will consider using their services.

“It is crucial to communicate to all marine operators and beyond, the benefits the Cool Route can bring in terms of visibility and market reach.”

The full Cool Route stretches around southern and western Ireland, across Northern Ireland and up the coast of western Scotland, to the Faroe Islands and Norway and is rated as one of the most attractive sailing routes globally.

The booking platform offers self-registration for local businesses. Over 300 stopovers have been identified across the route, with stopovers every 25 nautical miles.

Researchers from GCU, in partnership with British Marine Scotland, have held workshops with marine operators in Oban and have hosted an event for local SMEs at Largs Yacht Haven.

The Scottish leg of the Cool Route is split into four sections: Argyll and the Islands, the Firth of Clyde, Skye and the North West, and Orkney and Shetland.

Led by Cork Institute of Technology, the €1.26million Cool Route project has been funded by the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme which funds transnational cooperation projects in the northern periphery and arctic region.

The project also involves Donegal County Council, Royal Cork Yacht Club, Derry City Council, Torshavn Port Authority, Blues Seas Marinas and Western Norway Research Institute.