VisitScotland tour stops off in Oban

VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead at the Ocean Explorer Centre with SAMS Head of communications Dr Anushka Miller and VisitScotland Regional Director David Adams McGilp.

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VisitScotland chiefs were in Oban this week at the start of Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.

Its chief executive Malcolm Roughead and regional director David Adams McGilp stopped off at Dunbeg’s Ocean Explorer Centre as part of a listening tour to the area, finding out more about what the opportunities and challenges are locally for tourism.

The marine environment discovery centre, rated four-star by VisitScotland, recorded 5,000 visitors last year, not including school groups, and hopes 2020’s water theme will bring it even more tourists

Another family-friendly Festival of the Sea is planned by the centre this year and it will also be hosting a number of large conferences for marine scientists.

Talks with Argyll and the Isles Tourist Co-operative and Argyll and Bute Council were also on the VisitScotland pair’s agenda on Tuesday, as well as a visit to Oban’s tourist iCentre on the North Pier.

‘I don’t think you could find a better themed year for Oban than Coast and Waters,’ said Mr Roughead who added the economic benefits for the area would be far-reaching to the whole community, even those not directly linked to tourism.

‘Tourism is such a powerful economic driver. Everyone will benefit from it,’ he said.

Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 has a full programme running right through to December including a RowAroundScotland bid involving rowing clubs across Argyll and also the Easdale Rib Rendezvous organised by Seil-based Seafari Adventures where enthusiasts and their boats meet up to explore the West Coast of Scotland. Both those events are in May.