From fishing to textiles, whisky to wave power, Scotland’s waters have shaped our history, influenced our culture, our stories and our way of life.

2020 will be Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters. It’s an opportunity for everyone – businesses, communities and visitors – to dive in and experience all that Scotland’s Coasts and Waters have to offer. Success will depend on the broadest range of partners getting on board.

Across Scotland throughout 2020 there will be a programme of new and aligned events, activities and promotions that showcase our heritage and culture; natural environment and wildlife; activities and adventures and our food and drink – all the great experiences associated with our vibrant Coasts and Waters.

Themed Years are designed to provide a platform around which we can work together across the tourism sector and beyond, all pulling in the same direction to celebrate and promote our key assets within the same framework, utilising a common brand and messaging, and multiplying our individual efforts to great effect. As part of our engagement activity we have created a free online toolkit designed to help you think about how your business can take part in and benefit from the year.

Our 2020 year is the first to benefit from a new delivery model that sees Themed Years take place every other year allowing more time for planning, delivery and evaluation. This approach was developed in response to feedback from industry consultation which saw a ringing endorsement for the continuance of Themed Years but highlighted the need to ensure the opportunity was fully maximised.

The new model is already reaping rewards with great engagement and a real momentum and enthusiasm from the broadest range of businesses and organisations all thinking about what they can do to take advantage of the platform.

The creation of an exciting events programme is central to the Themed Years approach. Last month we revealed just a taster of the exciting new events in plan for 2020. These included Ferry Tales a new production from National Theatre of Scotland celebrating our coastal communities; a celebration of the Dolphin and marine environment in Aberdeen from the RSPB; the return of the spectacle of Fife Regatta to our West Coast; Scotland’s Shores from the Edinburgh Film Festival – which will include a shore side outdoor film experience; an expanded Clydebuilt Festival with even more opportunities to get on the water and River of Light a new evening spectacle that invites sailors to join in the celebration at Scotland’s Boat Show.

We are inviting businesses to join our ‘partner programme’ and benefit from the broader promotions for the year.

So, if you haven’t dipped your toe in the water yet, it’s time to jump right in and see how you can immerse yourself in the opportunities around Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters.