Get on board with Scotland’s themed year

Oban Bay is deserving of city status

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The Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 (YCW2020) will shine a spotlight on the impact our waters have on our country and inspire visitors, locals, and the tourism and events sector to get involved and enjoy everything the year has to offer.

The year will celebrate all aspects of Scotland’s visitor experience in relation to coasts and waters, with a focus on unique, authentic experiences and sustainable tourism.

The visitor opportunity in terms of experiences and events will focus on our natural environment and wildlife, our historic environment and cultural heritage, activities and adventure, and food and drink.

Home to 23 inhabited islands, several long sea lochs and a stunning coastline, Argyll and the Isles can aptly be described as the land of coasts and waters.

The region boasts a range of tranquil beaches, beautiful scenery, fascinating history and a vibrant culture. Combine this with exciting activities, top attractions, some fantastic restaurants and world-famous distilleries, and you can clearly see that Argyll and the Isles is perfectly poised to make the most of the next themed year.

Oban is considered to be the gateway to the isles with extensive ferry services operating from the town to islands across the region.

However, this special wee place has a lot more to offer than transport to the islands. Hailed as the seafood capital of Scotland, home to one of Scotland’s oldest distilleries and offering adventure and spectacular wildlife in and around the Firth of Lorne, Oban ties into every aspect of YCW2020.

Partnership and collaboration is at the heart of Scottish tourism and I urge every business, group and community in Oban to come together to make the most of this superb opportunity to raise the profile of the town and Scotland on the global stage.

The Little Bay is just one example of a place in the region which has much to gain from 2020. From the gorgeous white sandy beaches of Colonsay to the nine distilleries of Islay, the stunning coast of the Cowal Way to the world-class watersports on the Isle of Tiree, Argyll and the Isles is full of remarkable places that can take full advantage of YCW2020.

It has been announced that one of the five new driving routes, collectively known as The Coig, will be located on the Isle of Bute. Known as ‘The Bute’, the route takes in much of the island’s beautiful coast and it is expected to increase the number of visitors to the island, the length of time they stay and the amount they spend.

The delivery of an exciting programme of special events is an important part of the year and events in the region have the opportunity to apply for the dedicated YCW2020 Events Programme Open Fund which has been designed to create new, high profile opportunities to celebrate our coasts and waters while adding value to the existing calendar of events.

There is also the YCW2020 Partner Programme, which is a non-funded opportunity to align your event with the year and benefit from potential inclusion in VisitScotland promotional activity in celebration of the year.

YCW2020 is an excellent opportunity for Argyll and the Isles to showcase its fantastic offering and bring in visitors which are a major benefit to the region. Tourism is more than a holiday experience – it is the heart of the Scottish economy and touches every community, generating income, jobs and social change.