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New mentoring campaign to help seafood firms diversify into tourism

Processors at the heart of the story of Scottish seafood.
Processors at the heart of the story of Scottish seafood.

Scottish seafood firms are being encouraged to go “beyond the boat” and help to reel in more tourists.

The drive to get them to look at the big picture rather than just supplying their markets is part of a wider initiative to help the sector grow and spread the risk for smaller businesses.

Trade body Seafood Scotland and tourism organisation VisitScotland have teamed up to launch a mentoring scheme within the overall Beyond the Boat campaign, with the aim being to help companies make the most of new opportunities in food and agriculture tourism.

We’ve seen the agritourism sector enjoy a huge boost during the pandemic, and we’d love to replicate the success of this.”

Karen Galloway, Seafood Scotland.

A series of webinars will offer advice and expertise on topics including sources of funding, creating tourism experiences, insights, legal advice, storytelling, compliance and assurance, media relations and social media.

The six-week programme will also feature mentoring from experts, and is intended to “inspire and cultivate the growth of seafood tourism across the country”.

It is hoped it will be a springboard to help seafood entrepreneurs diversify into tourism.

One of the team at Inverawe Smokehouse in Argyll.

Seafood Scotland and VisitScotland say they will deliver skills and know-how to help businesses create memorable and authentic food tourism experiences, offer opportunities to taste and eat Scottish seafood, and attract visitors from across the UK and internationally.

Scotland’s £1.3bn seafood larder

Karen Galloway, head of industry engagement, Seafood Scotland, said: “Scotland is renowned for its magnificent seafood larder the world over, bringing in around £1.3 billion to the Scottish economy.

“We are hoping to build on some of the successes of the challenging last couple of years, where businesses have pivoted and benefited from people holidaying closer to home.

“Along with VisitScotland, we hope to be able to inform, inspire and engage businesses to expand their offering and really showcase the fantastic industry we have here, as well as building a community of seafood tourism offerings around the country.”

There are fantastic opportunities for businesses to tell their stories to help to attract locals and visitors.”

Vicki Miller, VisitScotland.

Ms Galloway added: “We looked for inspiration at successful food tourism businesses across the UK and overseas, such as the Viking Sushi Adventure Voyage in Iceland.

“Closer to home, we’ve seen the agritourism sector enjoy a huge boost during the pandemic, and we’d love to replicate the success of this by continuing to build a network of seafood tourism businesses around the country.”

VisitScotland marketing and digital director Vicki Miller said: “We know visitors seek to make a real connection with the places they visit, and are increasingly interested in the provenance of the food and drink which make up those experiences.

“Scotland’s reputation for seafood, as part of its world-renowned natural larder, means there are fantastic opportunities for businesses to tell their stories to help to attract locals and visitors.

Loch Fyne Oysters and The Tobermory Fish Company are great examples of businesses which not only offer quality visitor experiences but do so whilst telling their own story.

‘Force for good’

“By working in partnership with Seafood Scotland we can strength Scotland’s tourism offering in the seafood sector, while in turn supporting local businesses and communities.”

Tourism is a “force for good,” Ms Miller said, adding: “It creates jobs, sustains communities and contributes significantly to the economy.”

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