Oban North Pier Pontoons, and the Harbour Building, have made a substantial contribution to the marine tourism offer of the town, and the wider Argyll and Bute area, according to an independent review.
The council’s Business Continuity Committee today (16 April) considered a report showing that the pontoons have out-performed original forecasts and that the additional vessels and visitors they attract to Oban have made a positive impact to the local economy.
End of year figures for 2019 showed 4,196 boat nights were recorded which created 17,326 additional visitors to Oban. At an average spend of £47 person, this means additional tourist spend in Oban of £814,322. These figures do not include passengers disembarking from cruise ships visiting the town.
The modern, step-ashore pontoon facility, complete with 36 finger-berth pontoons and a concrete floating breakwater, opened for business, ahead of schedule, in July 2017, offering access to Oban town centre for marine visitors.
The addition of the North Pier Building provides dedicated showers, toilets, changing area and secure storage lockers for maritime visitors as well as four commercial spaces including a harbour-master’s office, a shop, operator’s office and meeting room available for hire. The developments have created three point five full time jobs, one more than anticipated.
This major project to maximise Oban Bay and Harbour, part of the CHORD town centre investment, is now officially complete.
Councillor Gary Mulvaney, Policy Lead for Financial Services and Major Projects, said:
“The blue economy is vitally important to Oban and the wider Lorn area, including a number of economically fragile communities based on nearby islands. The new facilities provide a focal point for marine-based activity, providing a place of welcome at the North Pier to maritime visitors and businesses.
“The transformation is having a positive impact on the town’s tourism economy as we now have a high-quality welcome ashore at a prominent town centre location which means visitors will have direct access to Oban’s services and facilities.”
The total CHORD pontoon funding was £1.5m with additional funding of £700,000 from the Scottish Government’s Recycled Capital Grant Fund (RCGF) and £300,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).