Organisers behind a mentoring programme that aims to encourage the growth of seafood tourism in Scotland say that the scheme has ‘proven to be a success’, reports Paul Scott.

The series of webinars, created as part of the Beyond the Boat initiative by Seafood Scotland, were launched earlier this year (Fishing News, 19 May, ‘Seafood tourism mentoring launched’).

The six-week programme comprised informative sessions, alongside additional mentoring from experts in areas such as funding, compliance, tourism insights, digital marketing and events, to help businesses diversify into tourism.

Seafood Scotland partnered with VisitScotland on the project, with the national tourism organisation providing mentors and speakers, and contacts for already successful tourism businesses.

Organisers said the aim of each session was to provide ‘advice and expertise to help seafood businesses create memorable and authentic food tourism experiences to attract visitors from the UK and internationally’.

Karen Galloway, head of industry engagement for Seafood Scotland, said: “It has been fantastic to see so many businesses get involved with this programme over the last few weeks, and hear about their ideas to diversify into food tourism ventures.

“We’re incredibly grateful to VisitScotland and the rest of our mentors for their advice on how to deal with the different aspects of tourism, from quality assurance, to how to get your story across, to how to maximise your digital presence online.”

Seafood Scotland says that more than 20 businesses have participated in the programme to date.

“The feedback we’ve received from the seafood businesses attending has been extremely positive. Quite a few of them are already in touch directly with the mentors, and working up plans for the next stage of their business,” said Karen Galloway.

Launched in January this year, the Beyond the Boat programme is aimed at ‘stimulating seafood initiatives and spreading risk for businesses by diversifying into new and emerging sectors’.

“This is just the start. We’ll be bringing the mentors and seafood businesses together in the autumn for an in-person session to help inform, inspire and engage businesses further and, we hope, help build a community of seafood tourism offerings around the country,” said Karen Galloway.

More information about the project, and the webinar series, can be found here.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here


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