Skip to main content
John Farley, of Sutherlands of Portsoy, said the Beyond the Boat webinar series was
John Farley, of Sutherlands of Portsoy, said the Beyond the Boat webinar series was "beautifully balanced" with a careful choice of speakers. Photo: FFE.

A free mentoring programme to help Scottish seafood businesses diversify into seafood tourism has been declared a success.

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

More than 20 businesses across Scotland signed up to the pilot programme, with many able to get bespoke advice from the mentors, Seafood Scotland said in a press release.

As the company is situated in what can only be classed as an idyllic coastal setting, it seemed logical we looked to tourism as another channel for generating sales and brand awareness.

John Farley, Sutherlands of Portsoy

One of the beneficiaries was John Farley from fish smoker and fishmonger Sutherlands of Portsoy, sited on the southern shore of the Moray Firth in Aberdeenshire.

He said: “As the company is situated in what can only be classed as an idyllic coastal setting, it seemed logical we looked to tourism as another channel for generating sales and brand awareness.

Portsoy is an idyllic coastal setting that salmon smoker Sutherlands should take advantage of, says John Farley. Click image to enlarge. Photo: Sutherlands of Portsoy.
Portsoy is an idyllic coastal setting that salmon smoker Sutherlands should take advantage of, says John Farley. Click image to enlarge. Photo: Sutherlands of Portsoy.

“Whilst the traditional two-day boat festival held in Portsoy brings in an estimated 20,000 visitors, we want to attract visitors from further afield, and saw ‘Beyond the Boat’ as the perfect mentoring programme to help with this vision.

“The programme was beautifully balanced with both informative content and a degree of mentoring covering the entire tourism concept. The organisers are to be congratulated with the careful choice of supporting speakers who added so much value to an already excellent well-presented and delivered programme.”

VisitScotland

Seafood Scotland partnered with VisitScotland on the project, with the 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.

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.

“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.”

Intermediaries

As a result of the webinars, a number of businesses are rethinking how to market their seafood tourism business by considering using intermediaries to gain customers rather than target potential consumers directly, said Seafood Scotland.

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 here.