Shop to ship – plan to help island businesses stay afloat

Shop to Ship by Sail Scotland

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A ‘shop to ship’ initiative has been launched to help shore-based businesses get goods to tourists onboard visiting vessels.

Following the pandemic, the idea aims to help small businesses in remote areas and islands to carry on trading with visitors arriving by sea, while also respecting the concerns of communities about those stepping ashore.

It aims to promote the advanced order and purchase of local seafood, fresh food, arts and crafts, with arrangements made between the business and visitor for the safe drop off and collection from quays, ports and harbours.

The idea is sailors visiting the area use a dedicated website in advance to find out about shore-based food and craft producers then make arrangements.

It is hoped the move will help in the economic recovery of remote rural and island destinations which have been hard hit by the lockdown and rely on visitors.

Sail Scotland, a membership group for the marine tourism industry, is behind the idea.

Its web-based portal will allow businesses to promote beer, wines and spirits, local seafood, fresh foods, meats, bakery, dairy, takeaways, groceries, household items and arts and crafts to customers arriving by sea.

Alan Rankin, chief executive of Sail Scotland, said: ‘A key element of the Scottish sailing experience is the world-class food and drink available through shore-side businesses. This pilot initiative is aimed to enhance the sailing experience and offer vital sales to coastal and island businesses.’

Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing said: ‘It also enables individual businesses and their communities to be recognised as welcoming destinations, with the processes tailored precisely to local circumstances and built in from the beginning.’

The further easing of lockdown allows yachts and boats to visit remote areas and islands.

Safe Sailing guidelines have been published by Sail Scotland which asks visiting yachts to Respect the Destination by planning ahead, making a considered arrival and thinking local.

Sail Scotland said no two destinations are the same so the platform aims to connect the producer and the consumer as easily as possible.

Fiona Richmond, head of regional food at Scotland Food and Drink, said: ‘With restrictions beginning to unwind and businesses seeking to find new ways of working, it’s great to see innovative initiatives like the Shop to Ship marketplace, which provides a fantastic digital platform for local businesses to reach new customers.’

The Shop to Ship campaign will be promoted widely by Sail Scotland, Scotland Food and Drink and others.

Businesses can register at It includes free associate membership of Sail Scotland.

Respect The Destination guidelines 

An example of how the initiative works