Ferry link could cash in on tourism boom, says Falkirk SNP man

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Falkirk East MSP Angus MacDonald says the threat of “extreme Brexit” is strengthening the case for a new Scotland-Europe ferry link.

He says he is “making progress” in his bid to persuade ferry operators to open a new Scotland-Europe link - while figures show a marked surge in visits to Scotland - but can’t currently disclose details because of commercial sensitivity.

Office of National Statistics figures shows the number of overseas tourists visiting Scotland rose by 16.9 per cent to 3.2 million last year, with European visitors accounting for 60 per cent of visits and spending £1.1 billion here.

Mr MacDonald says while the number of European visits rose by 17 per cent, from 2016 figures, the increase was just one per cent in the rest of the UK.

He added: “It’s clear there is no better time for ferry operators to reinstate a direct passenger ferry link between Scotland and Scandinavia.

“Last year was a record year for overseas tourists – with visitors from Europe flocking to get their share of Scotland’s rich culture and heritage”.

“As the uncertainty of the Tories’ extreme Brexit presents the tourism sector with unnecessary challenges it is of the utmost importance that we develop and maintain strong links with our European neighbours.

“I will continue to work with ferry operators and the Scottish Government to make this route a reality.”