The operators of the paddle steamer Waverley have had a bid for grant funding accepted by Argyll and Bute Council.
The authority will give £45,000 over the next three years to Waverley Excursions Ltd, which is seeking similar funding partnerships with councils in Glasgow, Inverclyde and Ayrshire, where the historic ship is a regular visitor every summer.
Argyll and Bute Council’s policy lead for tourism, Councillor Vivien Dance, said: “In the Waverley, we have a very precious piece of history, and it is important to make sure it has a sustainable future.
“She is an iconic ship and its image is very much associated with Argyll and Bute and plays an important role in the promotion of Argyll and Bute as a tourist destination.
“There is no finer sight than the Waverley pulling into one of our piers, with the sound of pipes to welcome her, and she undoubtedly makes a very important social, economic and cultural contribution to our area.
“It is also important to look at the long-term options for the Waverley in the context of our overall tourism marketing strategy for Argyll and Bute and we will continue our discussions with Waverley Excursions Ltd on the longer term funding issues in the context of our budget process.
“We are delighted to agree this funding alongside the support already provided in the form of waiving berthing fees when the Waverley pays a visit to our piers.”
The Waverley pays up to five visits a week to Rothesay during her Clyde summer cruising season every July and August, but her operators have faced increased financial pressures in recent years due to rising fuel costs and greater competition in the leisure market.
Argyll and Bute’s funding contribution will be paid to Waverley Excursions Ltd over three consecutive years - £20,000 in 2013/14, £15,000 in 2014/15 and £10,000 in 2015/16.