In October 2012, the Oban CHORD Project Board agreed to facilitate a review of the marine tourism facilities in Oban Bay in order to identify the optimal configuration of existing and proposed facilities in the Oban vicinity to sustainably grow the marine tourism market for the benefit of Oban and Argyll. Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) partnered Argyll and Bute Council in taking this forward.
A series of workshops with key stakeholders were facilitated to explore the varied interests, views and opportunities in respect of Oban.
The final workshop was held on Friday 22 February where a consensus was reached that Oban has the potential to be a major centre for marine tourism in Argyll and the west Highlands.
In addition, the key stakeholders came to a general agreement on the need for a transit facility in Oban bay in order to unlock Oban’s marine tourism growth potential. The transit facility would provide accessible step-ashore provision and be linked to a redevelopment of the white building as an orientation point for visitors and visiting sailors including the provision of toilets and showers. The delivery of these infrastructure developments will result in the North Pier becoming a marine leisure quarter for Oban.
Oban Marina on the Isle of Kerrera is an important tourism facility for Oban and its owners agree that the provision of a transit facility in Oban Bay would collectively provide a better and more appealing offer for sailors seeking attractive and safe destinations as they explore the western Highlands.
Argyll and Bute Council and HIE welcome the outcomes and will give consideration to the report’s findings and the next steps.
Councillor Louise Glen-Lee, Chair of the Oban CHORD Project Board said, “Over the last 3 months we have all been on a journey of understanding not only of Oban’s unique offer, but also market demands, synergies and opportunities. I can say that all stakeholders have emerged from this exercise with a broader view on how best to secure real sustainable economic growth for Oban via its terrific maritime assets and heritage.”
The council and HIE would like to thank all stakeholders for their valuable contribution. They are Oban Marina, Oban Bay Marine, VisitScotland, The Royal Yachting Association (Scotland) and the Crown Estate. Thanks also to a number of other stakeholders who were approached as external specialists including CMAL, Calmac, Northern Lighthouse Board, Oban Bay Community Berthing Ltd, STRAMASH and Oban Ltd.