Tall Ships worth over £5 million to isles economy, consultants claim in report

The staging of the Tall Ships Races in Lerwick this summer sparked a bonanza worth an estimated £5.5 million to the Shetland economy, according to a report from consultants Ekos.

Nearly 2,000 crew members on a total of 53 Tall Ships were in Shetland for the Lerwick leg of the event, which was extended from four days to five after the planned departure was delayed by bad weather.

The SIC spent a total of nearly £1.1 million on the event, and according to Ekos the economy gained nearly £3 for every £1 of council cash.

The Lerwick event is thought to have generated additional spending of £2.41 million in Shetland, while Ekos calculated the ensuing media coverage had a “PR equivalence” of £1.53 million.

Further coverage – including footage shot for the BBC’s Coast series – is expected to be aired in 2012. The event took place from 21st to 25th July.

The report estimated that 43 per cent of visitors to the event came from outside Shetland, and nearly one in four came from further afield than Scotland. The average daily expenditure was £20 per visitor, with that figure rising to between £53 and £74 for those who stayed overnight.

The findings are published in a report due to go before the council’s development committee on Wednesday. A separate study on the extra spending generated by the “cruise in company” visits to Fair Isle, Scalloway, Unst, Whalsay and Yell provided an estimated £1.66 million boost.

In a letter to SIC convener Sandy Cluness, race management committee chairman Knut Western paid tribute to a “very well organised” event. He singled out the sail training programme for praise and thanked everyone involved for their work in making the week a success.

“Please accept our gratitude and admiration for a well delivered job to the benefit of our crews,” Mr Western wrote. “We would be grateful if you would pass the thanks from all our race management team and all at Sail Training International onto all those in Lerwick who made it such a success.

“If Lerwick decides to bit to host The Tall Ships Races some time in the future, I am sure Sail Training International will give such a bid serious consideration.”


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