Aberdeen Asset Management, who recently announced a deal to become the title sponsor of Cowes Week has saved another UK sailing festival by becoming the title sponsor of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival. While Cowes Week would have continued to run in some manner without commercial backing, the Scottish Festival was described as being in serious jeopardy.
The Aberdeen deal is for three years and seems to be more in line with corporate responsibility factors than return on sponsorship investment.
The annual festival takes place in Portsoy and attracts up to 16,000 visitors from the UK and overseas, except when there is bad weather – the reason given for the decline of the event in recent years.
Festival Chairman Roger Goodyear explains the issues facing the 2011 festival;
“The Board of The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival was in a position where it had to make a decision if the festival could go ahead in 2011. Bad weather at the Festival in recent years resulted in lower gate takings, which, coupled with rising costs, has seriously depleted the Festival’s reserves.
Consequently, we were engaged in serious discussions about cancelling the 2011 event, which would have been a tremendous blow for the Festival – and indeed for Scottish tourism as it is considered to be a flagship event. Aberdeen Asset Management’s generous sponsorship support has truly saved the festival and has given us a three year period allowing us to rebuild our reserves for future years. We cannot stress enough what a lifeline Aberdeen Asset Management has thrown the festival and we are immensely grateful.”
Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen Asset Management and a keen sailor, says of the sponsorship deal;
Aberdeen Asset Management is headquartered in the north east of Scotland and it is important for us that we support such a vibrant community run event as The Scottish Traditional Boat Festival which attracts such a high level of tourists to the area.”
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond, a frequent visitor to the festival in Portsoy on the Banffshire Coast also welcomed the sponsorship announcement;
“I am delighted that one of Scotland’s leading international finance businesses and a local success story has linked up with Scotland’s top international boat festival in this way. The Festival has attracted many thousands of people from Scotland and further afield each year and done much to celebrate and so preserve the area’s maritime and cultural heritage. Tourism is one of Scotland’s largest business sectors, providing direct employment for more than 200,000 people and generating visitor spending of around £4 billion a year.”
The 2011 event will be the 18th annual Scottish Traditional Boat Festival. Visitors from across the globe will swell the 1,800 population of Portsoy by around 16,000. Traditional boats from the UK and overseas will be in the historic harbour at Portsoy along with a full programme of onshore activities on July 2 and 3.
We’ve republished the figure of 16,000 visitors because we have no way to verify it one way or another. One major online travel site lists only 6 hotels within a 12 mile radius of Portsoy, though the town is a one and a half hour drive from the sponsor’s town of Aberdeen.