A SENIOR VisitScotland official has backed moves to reignite a ferry link from Rosyth.

Riddell Graham, director of industry and destination development, said the national tourism organisation would be "delighted" to work with authorities in Rosyth to explore the logistics for passenger ferry reconnection as air travel remains significantly down.

MSP Annabelle Ewing stressed that now was the time to get behind a Rosyth ferry and pushed for VisitScotland to play a part in bringing connectivity to the town at the Scottish Parliament’s culture, tourism, Europe and external affairs committee meeting this week.

The VisitScotland director responded positively to the call for action and said he wanted to pursue whether the Rosyth ferry link could be reinstated, particularly in the current climate.

Mr Graham said: "We would be delighted to work with the appropriate authorities in the Rosyth area to look at logistics for passenger ferry reconnection into Rosyth.

"I remember when that ferry was operating, and I know that it had an impact.

"Given the changes in consumer behaviour that Marc (Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance) has alluded to, it would be good to see whether that connection could be reignited in some way."

Mr Crothall also backed the call to look into ferry links from Rosyth.

He said: "We have to think about consumer sentiment and how people are choosing to travel on ferries or large ships at the moment.

"There are suggestions that there is demand from the Scandinavian market.

"Certainly, the more opportunities that we have to get people here from foreign shores, the better."

In the last year, there have been plans for a ferry service between Rosyth and Groningen announced by Scottish marine technology company TEC Offshore but, as reported in the Press last month, those proposals appear to have been cancelled.

Securing funding appears to have been the major challenge stopping plans going ahead.

Ministers have backed repeatedly a direct ferry service linking Scotland to Europe but have said it needs to be delivered on a commercial basis.

It has now been a decade since there has been a passenger link between Scotland and the Continent.

The freight-only route between Rosyth and Zeebrugge in Belgium closed in 2018 and a passenger service ceased to operate in 2010.

There are still signs for optimism though as Dunfermline and West Fife MP Douglas Chapman has confirmed he is working alongside a company that plans to re-open a ferry link between the two towns.

Following the support from the tourism organisations, Mr Chapman said: “I am delighted Annabelle has raised this issue with officials from VisitScotland.

"A passenger ferry into Rosyth presents a great opportunity for the tourism sector that is right on our doorstep with offerings in Dunfermline and in the West Fife coastal villages.

“The port of Rosyth and the surrounding area presents so much opportunity for investment to re-boot our economy and a return of the ferry service would certainly be one of them.

"Along with working to bring back the ferry, I have also been championing Rosyth to be named as one of the UK Government’s freeports – another opportunity to bring investment and jobs in the area.

“I will continue to work with Scottish Government partners to re-establish the ferry service to once again open up Rosyth to the rest of Europe.”