The positive results of the Tall Ships Races visit to Lerwick Harbour in July have been confirmed in a survey which recorded excellent levels of satisfaction from participants and visitors.

Shetland Tall Ships Limited (STSL) has revealed that an Event Impact Assessment by consultancy, EKOS, based on interviews during the four-day event, shows 99% of respondents rated the experience as very good or good, with the attitude and helpfulness of staff and volunteers, information and awareness, and quality of food and drink highlighted.

Visitor numbers were recorded at 52,309, with an economic impact on Shetland of £4.5 million gross and £3.0 million net direct spend. Travel and accommodation were the highest elements, along with significant expenditure on food & drink and retail, providing positive impacts to the local economy.

Over half (54%) of business respondents rated event impact as positive or very positive, with 87% very likely or likely to welcome a similar event in future.

The overall cost to stage was £2.3 million, 52% of which came from public funds and 48% from private sources. STSL says of particular note is the amount of sponsorship from private companies, with 97% of the challenging target of £500,000 achieved – “a remarkable total for a small community”. Almost half of this was through in-kind services.

Significant contributions also came from partners Sail Training Shetland and Lerwick Port Authority. The latter provided all services to the fleet at no charge and made all event sites available on the port estate, providing alternative arrangements for displaced customers.

The objectives of STSL to provide an enjoyable event showcasing Shetland as a place to live and work, promote tourism and sailing, engage with young people, develop skills and community confidence, has been overwhelmingly met. Positive media coverage has been estimated with a value of £600,000, with social media reach additional.

Thanking everyone involved in the “huge success”, Malcolm Bell, Chair of STSL, said “In conjunction with our main funding partner at Shetland Islands Council, we are turning our attention to some of the longer-term legacy impacts that may be enabled through hosting the event.”

View the full news release from Shetland Tall Ships Ltd

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