SEAFOOD Scotland and VisitScotland have launched a six-week mentoring programme to inspire and cultivate the growth of tourism across the country.
The series of webinars is part of the Beyond the Boat initiative launched by Seafood Scotland earlier this year and will consist of six weeks of informative sessions, alongside additional mentoring from experts, creating a springboard to help seafood entrepreneurs diversify into tourism.
The partnership will provide businesses with skills and knowhow from both organisations, to help companies create memorable and authentic food tourism experiences, offer opportunities to taste the products and attract visitors from across the UK and internationally.
The webinars will give advice and expertise on topics including sources of funding, creating a tourism experience, insights, legal advice, storytelling, compliance and assurance, media relations and social media.
In addition, case studies from successful businesses relevant to the sector will be developed, with an opportunity to come together at the end of the mentoring programme to meet with experts in person.
Karen Galloway, head of industry engagement for 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.
“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.”
Vicki Miller, director of marketing and digital at VisitScotland, said: “We know that 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. 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. It creates jobs, sustains communities and contributes significantly to the economy.”
Launched in January this year, the Beyond the Boat innovation programme is aimed at stimulating seafood initiatives and spreading risk for businesses by diversifying into new and emerging sectors.
The programme is provided to businesses free of charge and it is hoped those taking part will provide real life exemplars of businesses embarking on a seafood tourism journey for the wider seafood community in Scotland.
The businesses involved in the Beyond the Boat programme stretch the length and breadth of the country, from Tarbert to Dunbar and Plockton to Shetland with a variety of water based, land based and food sale offerings.
Seafood Scotland has put the programme of sessions together based on feedback from these companies on what would be the most useful information for them to have to move forward with their business.
To find out more about the programme https://www.seafoodscotland.org/support-available/beyond-the-boat-scottish-seafood-tourism-2022/