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Seafood Scotland and VisitScotland’s mentoring programme to cultivate the growth of seafood tourism in Scotland has proven to be “a success”, the two bodies have said.

The series of webinars, created as part of the ‘Beyond the Boat’ initiative launched by Seafood Scotland earlier this year, comprised six weeks of 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.

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.

Over 20 businesses across Scotland signed up for the pilot programme, and many got bespoke advice from the mentors during the webinar programme.

For those that weren’t able to attend, and others that may be interested in finding out more, Seafood Scotland has made the presentations available on its website.

Karen Galloway, Head of Industry Engagement for Seafood Scotland, said: “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.

“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.”

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 examples of businesses embarking on a seafood tourism journey for the wider seafood community in Scotland.