Whale of a time to boost Scot­tish tourist econ­omy

Tourism: Plan to cre­ate sites for watch­ing sea life could bring in busi­ness

The Press and Journal (Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY SCOTT MACLENNAN

A new scheme to cre­ate a net­work of whale-watch­ing spots up and down the west coast could cre­ate jobs and boost the econ­omy.

The He­bridean Whale and Dol­phin Trust aims to es­tab­lish a net­work of around 25 world-class sea life watch­ing and her­itage sites through a £175,000 grant.

The cash comes from the UK Gov­ern­ment’s Coastal Com­mu­ni­ties Fund that en­cour­ages eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in such ar­eas.

Scotland would be pro­moted as one of Europe’s best des­ti­na­tions for spot­ting sea life in its nat­u­ral habi­tat.

The plans have been slated for a sum­mer 2019 launch.

Karl Stevens, He­bridean whale trail man­ager, said: “Peo­ple cur­rently visit Scotland for the land­scapes, wildlife and cul­ture – but not nec­es­sar­ily to see cetaceans.

“With the He­brides be­ing one of the best places in Europe to see these spec­tac­u­lar an­i­mals, we want to add them to the mix – and our re­search shows that the po­ten­tial is huge.”

To max­imise its po­ten­tial Mr Stevens will look for spot­ting sites on Scotland’s western seaboard from the Clyde to Cape Wrath, even go­ing as far west as St Kilda, though most will be on the isles.

The move has won the back­ing of David Adams

“The He­brides is one of the best places to see these an­i­mals”

McGilp, VisitScot­land re­gional part­ner­ships di­rec­tor.

Mr Adams McGilp said: “This new Whale Trail will help ce­ment Scotland’s rep­u­ta­tion as one of the best places in the Europe to watch ma­rine life, and pro­vides a plat­form for lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties to come to­gether and pro­mote ev­ery­thing that makes the He­brides such a unique and spe­cial place.”

MAK­ING A SPLASH: Hump­back whales are among the star at­trac­tions for tourists flock­ing to the He­brides

The play­ful na­ture of dol­phins is a con­stant draw

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