Start date: Jun 30, 2009,
End date: Sep 29, 2014
The Sail West Strategy has been developed to deliver a number of objectives which are as follows:To provide a cohesive marine leisure development strategy for the North West, which links Sligo, Donegal, the maritime counties of Northern Ireland and the West of Scotland.To provide innovation in the development of new products and services.To share knowledge and best practise between the partners.To provide sustainable development, job growth and the rejuvenation of maritime communities.To ensure that environmental best practise and the possible effects of global climate change is fully considered within all new developments.To encourage and develop Eco-tourism.The programme will develop linkages between Scotland and the island of Ireland that will benefit both sides of the Irish Sea and the Atlantic Approaches. These linkages are not only from the West but also in the case of Sligo and Donegal from the South. The programme is concerned with all aspects of the sea and marine leisure activities and builds on linkages that already exist in the zone.Areas of expertise have been developed in partner locations including angling, canals and the development of interpretative centres. Cross border experiments have been carried out in the North West of Ireland that has resulted in the development of essential initiatives for beach management. That region is now recognised as an area of best practise in beach management which is seen as an important economic driver.Proper management is a requirement for sustainable and safe new product development for the adventure and water-sports industry. There are good examples of potential partner involvement and the exchange of information and expertise and their application across the programme. The Sail West projects connect the area physically and the role of the partners in a wider context is essential to the development of the Sail West Project. This connectivity will be across the provision of infrastructure, safety, events, training, environmental issues. Achievements: The Sail West project, which is led by Donegal County Council and includes 20 project partners from the three eligible regions, aims to promote to the global sailing fraternity, the west coast of Scotland, the maritime counties of Northern Ireland and the north west coast of County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland – as the world-class sailing destination it unquestionably is. It aims also to encourage greater sailing traffic between the three regions. The specific key aims of the projects include:· To create a marine leisure centre of excellence in the coastal zone;· To provide sustainable development and rejuvenate coastal communities;· To provide employment growth and protect existing jobs;· To provide investment in new infrastructure and ancillary services;· To create awareness and educational programmes;· To provide management training;· To develop an overall marketing brand and marketing collateral to promote the coastal zone; and· To ensure that all activities are aligned with environmental best practise in order to protect the natural resources.To achieve these objectives, the project consisted of four strands/components; Project Administration, Marketing and Branding, Approved Studies and Approved Schemes.A post-project evaluation was carried out in October 2013 and highlights the key achievements and impacts which are reported against three of the project strands;Marketing and BrandingAn overall marketing plan for all activity was developed and agreed in March 2011 and included indicative resource allocations under a series of headings including; brand development, events to link facilities in the three eligible areas, exchange learning journeys, workshops, training, website development, boat shows, print advertising, direct mail, and surveys to assess impact and trends, and partner surveys to assess visitor numbers.The post-project evaluation highlights a key success in relation to the MalinWaters Brand which was developed and launched in 2011 with the website www.malinwaters.com. This brand is identified by the logo below and has created a common sense of identity for the partner region, through the website, sailing publications, support for a range of events and joint attendance at major sailing and boating shows.Approved StudiesThere were five major studies carried out with a purpose of supplying technical and business advice with regards to potential future marine tourism in relation to the following areas;1) Portrush harbour (Northern Ireland);2) River Foyle (Northern Ireland);3) Campbeltown (Western Scotland);4) Lochaber (Western Scotland); and5) Maidens Harbour (Western Scotland).Approved SchemesIn addition to conducting the large feasibility studies, 9 marine infrastructure projects were also supported, 1 in the Border Region of Ireland, 1 in Northern Ireland and 7 in Western Scotland. The type of facilities provided through the funding includes:1) Yacht Havens/Angling Centres;2) Shore facilities – including showers and toilets for visitors;3) Visitor pontoons;4) Extra moorings; and improved boat access by improving slipways.Notable eventsThe events organised by the project exceeded the agreed target by number, size and the quality of the events themselves. Events of particular significance that the Sail West project supported included the World Laser event at Largs (Western Scotland) in 2010, Euosurf in Bundoran (County Donegal, Ireland) in 2011 and the 2012 Clipper Homecoming festival where over 150,000 visitors were recorded in Derry-Londonderry over a 10 day period. The Clipper Homecoming festival was particularly successful in developing strong inter-regional linkage and international recognition.In relation to impact and additionality, the evaluation highlighted significant contribution to the marine tourism product in North West Ireland, Northern Ireland and the West of Scotland, particularly in terms of the development of a string of quality marine infrastructure and the launch and progression of the MalinWaters brand. The MalinWaters brand has in particular created a unique platform to work on in the future and raised the potential of the wider marine and sailing sector in the area.
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