First we hear of a new technologies hub in Dundee, a robotics hub across Scotland’s universities and now a marine tourism hub for Oban.
Oban currently gets around 15 cruise ship visits per year bringing economic activity to the town’s businesses and bus trips into the surrounding and very scenic countryside. Cruise passengers visiting UK ports have been increasing steadily from around 500 000 in 2006 to more than 1 million in 2015 so there is clearly a market to be tapped. Constraining the number of visits, it is thought, is the fact that visitors to Oban have to tender across and come up the slipway from the ships. On the 21st February 2017, Argyll & Bute Council confirmed a £3 million investment in pontoons and associated facilities to make the visits easier and thus more attractive to cruise ship owners, other marine traffic such as kayakers, yachters, tour operators and sea-life enthusiasts.
The contract for the work has also gone to local businesses providing employment locally and it is anticipated that the new facilities will generate around £20 million for the town over the next 25 years.