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Marine / New £3m fund aims to help marine tourism

A NEW £3 million investment fund for boat-based tourism in Scotland has been launched to help promote the sustainable development of the country’s marine tourism sector.

The 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 around £9 million, and will take the form of direct commercial investments by Crown Estate Scotland.

As the manager of the country’s seabed plus around half the foreshore, Crown Estate Scotland said it 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.

Crown Estate Scotland director of property Andy Wells 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.”

Tourism minister 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.”

The full criteria and background information of the fund can be found here.