Shetlanders Urged to Open Doors for Tall Ships

VisitShetland is calling on locals to open their homes to sailing enthusiasts next summer as The Tall Ships Races arrive in Lerwick in July 2011. Renowned for its international following and with just 10 months to go, the race is expected to attract a number of additional visitors to the islands which will create a need for additional accommodation.

Steve Mathieson and Fiona DallyIn a bid to accommodate the increased number of tourists, VisitShetland has joined forces with The Tall Ships Races 2011 - Lerwick, to create an arrangement whereby local residents can open their houses to paying guests - bed and breakfast or self catering style - during the event.

VisitShetland’s Islands Manager, Steve Mathieson, explains: “We know that The Tall Ships Races bring a lot of visitors and that the demand for accommodation will be higher than normal for Shetland at this already busy time of year, which is why we’ve set up this temporary accommodation programme. For a sign up cost of £40, interested home owners will effectively be able to run a short term guest house operation, opening their homes to visitors, following a basic quality assessment of the property.”

Fiona Dally, Project Manager for The Tall Ships Race - Lerwick, adds: “The Tall Ships Races are designed to encourage international friendship and training for young people in the art of sailing, so this scheme, which encourages locals to welcome visitors into their homes, is very apt. We urge locals to get involved - not only from a business point of view, but as a means of sharing Shetland’s warm hospitality and unique cultural traditions with the rest of the world. We look forward to welcoming visitors to Shetland for this great celebration of seafaring tradition.”  

Chosen for its hospitality, cultural traditions and maritime heritage, Lerwick is a first class Host Port for The Tall Ships Races, and will welcome Ships from 21st-24th July 2011.The Races are held annually in European waters and consist of three races, and a "Cruise in Company", the non-competitive part of the event, taking place between Greenock and Lerwick. Half of the crew on each Ship participating in the Races must be made up of young people, aged between 15 and 25 years.

In 2011, the Tall Ships will race between Waterford, Greenock, Lerwick, Stavanger and Halmstad. Lerwick is the welcoming port after the "Cruise in Company" leg and the starting port for the Second race to Stavanger.

If you are interested in getting involved with the temporary accommodation scheme, please contact Robin Mouatt on 01595 693434 or email robin.mouatt@visitscotland.com