TOURISM bosses say the future looks bright for Inverclyde following a visit to the area to meet with local business leaders.

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive for VisitScotland, and Gordon Smith, regional director for the national tourism organisation, met with the Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce as he came to The Chartroom at Kip Marina on a fact-finding mission.

The delegation also enjoyed a visit to CalMac in Gourock and The New Chocolate Company in Port Glasgow.

Mr Roughead said: “This was a great opportunity to speak to key members of Inverclyde’s tourism industry and learn more about their upcoming plans, as well as the challenges and opportunities they face.

"I was pleased to see a real appetite for the forthcoming Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 and I look forward to our continued work with the region to make the most of Scotland’s next themed year.

"We want to champion collaboration and promote local areas to ensure the positive impact of tourism is felt across the country.

"Every year, I go round eight regions in the country and I try and meet businesses or traders like The Chartroom to look at what the challenges and opportunities are in each region.

"It's important that we see everything because tourism is such an eclectic sector.

"There are so many businesses here that make up the whole experience."

Gordon Smith, the regional director, praised the district for the warm welcome it offers tens of thousands of cruise ship tourists every year.

He said: "There's a strong tourist group in Inverclyde which is helping and sometimes they are the first port of call as a welcome to Scotland.

"They do a really good job."

Kevin Blamire, who is the marketing manager at Kip Marina, said he was eager to welcome the tourism bosses to Kip Marina and tell them all about the success of their recent boat show, which has grown over the years and just enjoyed record-breaking figures, with 13,000 people flocking to the event.

It will be extended next year after receiving over £30,000 in funding for the Year of Coasts and Waters.

Kevin said: "The impact the Boat Show has had on Inverclyde has raised the profile of the area as a whole.

"VisitScotland have come on board and they are supporting us next year as part of the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.

"For the first time, the Boat Show will have an event on the Saturday evening - a 'river of light' spectacle over the water."