Scotland West MSP, Stuart McMillan, at the Scottish Parliament’s Question Time last Thursday, 28th February, asked about additional investment in infrastructure and tourism investment in the West of Scotland as part of the Homecoming 2014 celebrations.
He asked the Scottish Government what progress it has made regarding Homecoming 2014 and whether consideration would be given to investing any additional consequential monies from Westminster into infrastructure and tourism opportunities in the West of Scotland to link with Homecoming 2014.
Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop MSP, responded on behalf of the Scottish Government – notably avoiding the provision of any specifics in response to the first part of his question on what progress the government has made on the Homecoming 2014 initiative.
In an empty ritual response, Ms Hyslop said: ‘I know that Stuart McMillan has consistently argued for marine infrastructure, particularly in the west of Scotland…
‘Stuart McMillan’s more general point, about the importance of the impact of homecoming 2014 for businesses, is well made. We have carried out a lot of investment, particularly in my portfolio, in the culture and heritage aspects of what Scotland has to offer. The impact is extensive, not just on our built heritage but on our marine heritage, in bringing people to Scotland to use our waterways, in Loch Lomond or on the west coast…
‘I am sure that Stuart McMillan’s request about consequentials has been heard by the relevant finance minister. His point is well made.’
Arguing for the importance of marine tourism, Stuart McMillan said: ‘I believe the marine tourism industry to be of vast potential to the whole of Scotland, and in particular the West of Scotland. With inland lochs such as Loch Lomond and a beautiful coastline there is a huge opportunity to make this into an even more thriving industry which can contribute significantly to Scotland’s economy.
‘Homecoming 2014 is a fantastic initiative that will see events across Scotland, with people returning to Scotland from across the globe. It is important that we manage to achieve a legacy from this tourism initiative and I believe that the area of marine tourism is one that would benefit greatly from tangible and lasting investment.
‘As Convenor of the Cross Party Group on Marine Tourism and Recreational Boating, I am always keen to push the interests of this industry, particularly as it has the potential to benefit so many of the areas and communities I represent in West Scotland.
‘I hope the Scottish Government will consider my proposals and will help the marine tourism industry realise its potential.’
Argyll and Bute Council’s perspective is in line with what Mr McMillan is saying, having recently accepted the importance of the development of Oban as a marine tourism hub, adding a walk-ashore transit marina at the town and developing the North Pier for all the necessary support facilities.