Almost £1 million of council money has been allocated to hosting the 2011 Tall Ships Races in Shetland, which the SIC hopes will be a major money-spinner for the community and could bring as many as 6,000 visitors to the isles.
Members unanimously voted to approve an initial spend of £36,030 this year and also agreed in principle to sanction spends of £115,889 next year and £761,902 in 2011/12 at a meeting of the development committee last Thursday.
SIC convener Sandy Cluness said it was a “hugely visible event” which would be of enormous benefit to the community and the local economy. A council report estimated that hosting ships here, between 21st and 24th July in just over two years’ time, could bring in as much as £3 million. Shetland last hosted the event in 1999.
The total cost of playing host to the event is now estimated to be around £1.6 million, of which just over £1 million will come from the SIC’s reserve fund and a further £120,000 from the virtually dormant Shetland Development Trust, while it is hoped that a further £400,000 in sponsorship and external funding can be pulled together.
The money will be administered through a specially-created private company, Shetland Tall Ships 2011 Ltd. It is chaired by Mr Cluness, with former councillor Peter Malcolmson as vice-chairman.
The company’s six directors are SIC vice-convener Josie Simpson and councillors Gussie Angus and Allan Wishart, along with Lerwick Port Authority chief executive Sandra Laurenson, another former councillor Billy Stove and travel agent Peter Leask. Fiona Dally was recruited last year as project manager and company secretary. She was also involved when Shetland hosted the island games in 2005.
Mr Cluness said during last week’s meeting: “A tremendous amount of work has already been done. We’re looking to minimise funding from Shetland [and there is] talk of merging with Flavour of Shetland.”