Businesses on Bute need to work more closely with each other, and with marinas on the island and throughout the west of Scotland, if the island is to get the most from the marine tourism market.
That’s one of the key findings of a report for VisitBute, the island’s ‘destination marketing organisation’, on how Bute might increase its appeal to marine tourism visitors such as sailors, yacht owners, kayakers and even passengers on the paddle steamer Waverley.
The report, written by former Bute local development officer Nina Graham and partly funded by an award from the Big Lottery Fund’s ‘Investing in Ideas’ programme’, was unveiled at VisitBute’s AGM, held this week in Rothesay.
Ms Graham concludes: “A strong message about Bute’s assets and attractions must be targeted at existing and potential maritime visitors before they arrive - to connect with them, and entice them to visit the island. Then, on arrival - to tempt them to come ashore, enjoy the island’s amenities and spend money.”
Her report also recommends that Bute should seek representation at the London Boat Show in January 2016 - following in the footsteps of Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Sail Scotland, who teamed up to launch Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink at the 2015 event, showcasing Highlands and Islands produce from across a region renowned as a popular destination for sailors.
The report includes the results of surveys of sailors and Bute business owners into what the island offers, and should offer, marine visitors: sailors’ priorities included a cheerful, friendly and helpful welcome; clear, accurate and easily accessible information; well-constructed and well-maintained facilities; more public moorings; and the availability of authentic local produce once ashore.