A successful trans-national project aimed at promoting the Cornish marine leisure sector has been a "catalyst" for new opportunities and growth, key industry leaders heard.
Cornish businesses and partners who have played a pivotal role in the EU Nautisme Espace Atlantique (NEA2) project gathered at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall in Falmouth to celebrate its positive achievements. The scheme, worth £442,000 to Cornwall, has been led in the UK by Cornwall Council and brought together 23 European partners from eight Atlantic-facing regions, all working towards sharing best practice, supporting innovation and marketing the marine leisure sector to the world.
Presentations at the event, entitled ‘Cornwall's Marine Leisure Sector: Partnership, Performance, Progression', provided fascinating facts about the value of the marine leisure sector to Cornwall. Speakers highlighted some of the key marketing assets created through the NEA2 project, and they demonstrated the innovative ways that it has engaged with young people and those employed in the industry in a range of training and environmental awareness issues.
The event was the culmination of the three year project, which has been delivered on behalf of Cornwall Council by Cornwall Development Company (CDC), Cornwall Marine Network (CMN) and Cornwall Sustainable Tourism Project (CoaST).
CMN's CEO Paul Wickes said: "The prolific success of this project has created both a legacy and a positive catalyst for the future. It has developed partnerships and collaborations, harnessed training delivery capability, overcome barriers to participation, created opportunities for young people, engaged with media and raised the profile of Cornwall's marine leisure sector."
Among its notable achievements are the hosting of Cornwall's first ever International Marine Conference in Falmouth in 2010, creating marketing campaigns to promote the sector that have reached a targeted audience of more than 1.2million people, enabling hundreds of Cornish youngsters to enjoy watersports through its social inclusion programmes, and creating marine environmental standards that will help ensure the sustainable growth of the sector.
CoaST has developed a cohort of marine champions, together with user-friendly guides and good practice support on green marine events management, energy resilience, school teaching material, and marine charters. It has also worked in partnership with the national programme, The Green Blue, to provide environmental guidance and support to businesses across the industry.
A survey carried out by participating EU regions calculated the combined value of the sector across the Atlantic Area is worth £7.8billion in turnover; employing 86,000 people and attracting 1.7million watersports participants. In Cornwall, it is worth £295million in turnover, employing 3,800 people and providing an average of 270,000 supervised watersports lessons per year.
Speaking at the event, Cllr Julian German, Cornwall portfolio holder for Localism, Sustainability and Devolution, said that NEA2 created: "A legacy in the form of the integration of marine leisure into the new Atlantic Maritime Strategy, which will inform the formation of the new EU programmes from 2014 to 2020. This is meaningful because for the first time the marine leisure sector in the Atlantic Area is recognised as a world class, sustainable, growing sector that creates quality jobs for communities not only in Cornwall, but also in the Atlantic regions with which we share a rich maritime history."
CDC project manager Alex Lake, who led the NEA2 project on behalf of Cornwall Council, said: "This is a valuable and sustainable sector which supports and showcases Cornish values and lifestyles and provides quality jobs and training opportunities."
The NEA2 project is part-financed by the European Development Fund from the Interreg IVb Transnational Cooperation Atlantic Area Fund, Cornwall Council, CoaST and CMN. For further details visit www.nea2.eu
Copyright 2011 Cornwall Marine Network
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