Visit Scotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead visited Inverclyde as part of his 2019 Listening Tour.

Malcolm met CalMac’s managing director Robbie Drummond before travelling to Kip Marina in Inverkip to meet Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce (ICC) president and Managing Director of Kip, Gavin McDonagh, and Kip marketing manager Kevin Blamire.

In the afternoon, Malcolm met with Directors from Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to discuss the ambitions of local businesses in the tourism industry within Inverclyde.

ICC Directors also had the chance to discuss the implications of the planned Ocean Terminal Building on the Greenock Town Centre and expressed the concerns of local tourism businesses regarding the need for a more cohesive offering from the area and outline tourism strategy.

Malcolm then visited Inverclyde Council, where VisitScotland heard about the plans, issues faced and opportunities for the region with a particular focus around cruise tourism and Year of Coast and Waters 2020.

As part of the Glasgow City Region Deal investment, £15 Million has been secured to develop a new cruise terminal facility in Greenock, which is forecast to see around 100 cruise ships per year visit Inverclyde from 2020.

Greenock Ocean Terminal will house a permanent museum and restaurant dedicated to the work of renowned local sculptor George Wyllie. The new terminal is estimated to attract £26million extra spending to the economy, according to Inverclyde Council.

The visit concluded with a visit to the New Chocolate Company in Port Glasgow, which is the only chocolatier to receive a Five Star Quality Assurance grading from VisitScotland.

Malcolm said: “This was an excellent opportunity to speak to key members of Inverclyde’s tourism industry and learn more about their upcoming plans, as well as the challenges and opportunities they face.

“I was pleased to see a real appetite for the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020, and I look forward to our continued work with the region to make the most of Scotland’s next themed year. “

Reflecting on the visit, ICC President Gavin McDonagh said: “On behalf of Inverclyde Chamber, I would like to thank Malcolm for coming to meet with my fellow Director’s and allow discussion of the opportunities and challenges for local tourism-related businesses in Inverclyde.

“The new cruise terminal development offers some exceptional opportunities for the area, but this opportunity must be capitalised on by local traders and businesses.”

Malcom concluded: “At VisitScotland, we want to champion collaboration and promote local areas to ensure the positive impact of tourism is felt across the country, including Inverclyde.”