North Ayrshire Council has been awarded £400,000 to develop marine tourism across the area’s island’s and coasts.

The Coig tourist route initiative will create a new opportunity for the west coast, Firth of Clyde and the islands to promote themselves to visitors from the rest of Scotland and around the world.

This funding comes in the year of coasts and waters and will be an extra addition to the ‘Making Waves’ tourism strategy throughout North Ayrshire’s coasts.

The marine and coastal tourism sector provides over 28,000 jobs across Scotland.

Councillor Alex Gallagher, cabinet member for economy, said: “North Ayrshire Council is delighted with the Scottish Government’s funding announcement which will help boost the marine tourism sector in North Ayrshire and across Ayrshire. “The Year of Coasts and Waters is a time to celebrate and showcase our beautiful and diverse coast and islands.

“Exciting initiatives such as The Coig tourism route will support our local businesses and communities by helping to boost visitors numbers into our towns and villages; with our Ayrshire Growth Deal marine tourism projects and our Making Waves Festival, we are committed to put Ayrshire on the map nationally and internationally.”

Speaking at a Sail Scotland conference in West Kilbride, Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

“The marine tourism sector makes an enormous contribution to Scotland’s tourism industry and all it has to offer and this £400,000 investment will raise the profile of Ayrshire as a major player in tourism.

“We want to support businesses involved in tourism to make the most of the opportunities they create ensuring they are sustainable and make a positive impact on the environment, society and economy.”