Encouraging yacht and pleasure boat owners to come north and make greater use of Highland harbours was the plea made by Tain councillor Jamie Stone to fellow councillors in Inverness today.
Addressing members of the Highland Council's Community Services Committee, Mr Stone welcomed the Council's commitment to increased expenditure on harbours, but added that that what is offered should be vigorously marketed to potential users.
Jamie said: "Pleasure boat users and 'yachties' should be encouraged to explore the 'string of pears' that make up the harbours, from Caithness to Aberdeenshire, that surround the Moray Firth. We should be speaking to Moray and Aberdeenshire councils about this - and talking to organisations like the Royal Findhorn Yacht Club would be useful."
"There is tremendous potential for tourism here - and as we spend council money on harbours this goal should always be in our minds. People cris-crossing the firth and tying up for the night, and then shopping for supplies or eating out would be a boost for our local economies."
"If you go south you can see how successful this kind of enterprise is in other parts of The UK. We can definitely learn and profit from this."
Responding to Mr Stone's suggestion, the Community Services Committee chair Councillor Allan Henderson confirmed that this kind of coastal tourism greatly benefited the local businesses in his Caol and Mallaig council ward in Lochaber.