Scotland has been added to a European-funded project called Cool Route. Part of the strategy aims to help remote businesses share in Scotland's £3.7bn marine tourism industry.

The Moffat Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University, which is a Cool Route partner, is marketing the west coast of Scotland as one of the most attractive cruising destinations in the world. It is providing logistical, business and marketing support to help increase the number of vessels visiting Scotland and bring wealthy tourists onshore.

The Scottish leg of the Cool Route is split into four sections: Argyll and the Islands, the Firth of Clyde, Skye and the North West, and Orkney and Shetland.

Led by the Cork Institute of Technology in Ireland, the €1.26m Cool Route project has been funded by the Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme which funds transnational co-operation projects in the northern periphery and arctic region.

According to the Institute, the Cool Route project is an eco-tourism product, exploiting the natural resources of the zone in a manner that is sustainable and environmentally viable.

This new sea route will be marketed internationally and will have a common branding, booking and information system. Its objectives are to:

  • Strengthen the market reach and customer base for SMEs in remote communities
  • Develop an exclusive product package to attract high-end customers
  • Develop a joint marketing strategy and ICT solution and co-operation on the logistics of overcoming barriers due to distance
  • Design a marketing model which provides opportunities for promoting additional spin-off activities – such as whale watching, walking tours, and traditional music evenings

Giancarlo Fedeli, principal investigator for the Cool Route at Glasgow Caledonian University, said: “One specific part of the project is to target superyachts and a lot of marketing activity will aim at this particular segment. There's higher spending there. We are aiming at small and medium enterprises and trying to get them involved in the booking website, so visitors will consider using their services. It is crucial to communicate to all marine operators and beyond, the benefits the Cool Route can bring in terms of visibility and market reach.”

A brochure targeting superyachts has been produced and small businesses are being urged to register for free on an online platform, which aims to link local enterprises to their ports.