Plans to bid for the Tall Ships’ Race in 2023 have taken an important step forward, after councillors agreed to back the bid alongside supporting smaller scale events.
Councillors at Monday’s policy and resources committee meeting agreed to support the bid for the event, which Shetland has hosted twice before in 1999 and 2011.
Members had originally been asked to pick between a business justification case for the race or smaller scale events, but an amendment proposed by councillor George Smith replaced the “or” with an “and”.
Councillor Robbie McGregor earlier made a plea to support hosting the 2023 event. He said he had travelled “fairly extensively” over the last few months, and that the Tall Ships’ Race “always” cropped up in conversation.
Supporting events like these “puts this marvellous set of islands on the map,” he added.
Lerwick North councillor Stephen Leask said the race would be “a fantastic thing for Shetland” but also warned that the SIC should not be the only ones financing it.
The cost for hosting the race would be around £2.5m, with the council expected to contribute up to £1.39m of this, while the budget for smaller events would be £100,000.
The business case presented to councillors on Monday had preferred the development and promotion of smaller scale events, with a particular emphasis on those outside the main visitor season.
Tall Ships was ranked highest in terms of economic return, with the 2023 event potentially bringing in a £600,000 economic boost, but was ranked second when factoring in the risk and benefit factors.
Recommendations from the meeting will be carried through to a full council meeting on Wednesday.