Marine Scotland is launching its first national survey of recreation and tourism around the Scottish coast and seas. It covers a vast array of activities and tourism businesses in, on or next to the sea.
The survey, run by consultancy LUC, aims to provide data to support marine planning and is a partnership between Marine Scotland, Firth of Clyde Forum, Scottish Coastal Forum, The Crown Estate, VisitScotland, sportscotland, WHAM, Royal Yachting Association, British Marine (Scotland), Sail Scotland and Scottish Canals.
The survey is online at www.marinerecreationandtourism.scot. It will run from 1st August until 31st October 2015.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment Richard Lochhead said:
“Marine tourism is worth an estimated £360 million to the Scottish economy, creating jobs, increasing participation in sports and recreational activities and showcasing Scotland in international markets as a world class destination.
“This survey provides a great opportunity to promote marine recreation and tourism throughout the country.
“I would encourage anyone with an interest in marine tourism and recreation to complete this survey before 31st October.”
Sarah Brown, Project Manager said:
“This sort of survey has never been attempted before and we are not underestimating the challenge! The partnership approach is great and comes directly from our work with the Cross Party Group and the Marine Tourism Strategy launched earlier this year. We hope the survey will show us where the most important places are for each activity around Scotland so we can have a better understanding of the importance of different areas as Regional Marine Plans are drawn up.”
The survey coincides with the development of a new suite of Regional Marine Plans covering Scotland’s coast and seas and related work such as the pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters plan, currently out for consultation.
By telling us who does what and where, the survey will help ensure these plans reflect Scotland’s unique opportunities for activities such as kayaking, sailing, wildlife watching or simply playing about with a frisbee on the beach. It will help recreation be appropriately recognised in the planning process, providing the kind of information we hold for other activities like shipping, off-shore renewables and fish farming. It will also help justify and guide future investment in facilities and infrastructure.
Alan Laidlaw, Portfolio Manager with The Crown Estate, one of the project partners, said:
“This is a really important opportunity for people to help play a part in managing Scotland’s coastal and marine areas, as all the data gathered from the survey will help to promote the importance of Scotland’s coast for tourism, sport and recreation, which is key to the growth of our economy. We want to hear from everyone who spends time at the coast for work or enjoyment, whether they sail, fish, dive, run or just walk the dog!”