Rural tourism support - Island projects first to be backed under new £6m fund.
Issued by The Scottish Government
Three sites on Skye and in Orkney are being given support to help them prepare for the tourist season, thanks to a new Scottish Government fund.
Plans for a £6 million Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund were announced last autumn – to address notable rises in visitor numbers experienced by some of the most popular destinations in the Scottish countryside.
Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop has now revealed that three pilot projects are receiving up to £480,000 towards the completion of urgent works.
- Standing Stones of Stenness: Orkney Islands Council will receive £80,000 to help build a car park at the site, part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site
- Fairy Pools, Skye: The Highland Council will receive up to £300,000 on behalf of the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland to develop visitor facilities, including toilets, at the Glenbrittle pools and waterfalls
- Neist Point, Skye: The Highland Council will receive £100,000 towards work to improve road access and parking at the Neist Point lighthouse, a landmark and view point at the western tip of the island
Administered by VisitScotland, the fund will be open from April for applications from local authorities, on behalf of their communities. Infrastructure improvements - including parking, camping, visitor facilities and recycling points – will be supported.
Fiona Hyslop said: “The tourism boom is great news for rural Scotland, bringing jobs and investment to communities. Yet we are also seeing pressures on services, facilities and transport, which is why we are taking action.
“These pilots in Orkney and Skye will quickly deliver benefits and help us finalise the way the scheme operates, before it opens up soon to more applications from around the country.
“I’m determined that we strike the right balance between sustainably growing tourism with carefully managing our iconic and world-leading destinations – so visitors can continue to enjoy them for generations to come.”
Welcoming the announcement on behalf of The Highland Council, Eilean a’ Cheò Councillor John Finlayson said:
“This is great news, following on from the announcement earlier this week for the funding packages at Fairy Pools and the Quiraing. All three projects will provide a significant improvement to the visitor experience.
“The Local Members and Highland Council Officers are committed to working in partnership with public agencies, land owners, tourism groups and communities to identify and support solutions that address tourism and infrastructure issues for the benefit of the local hot spots and also the Ward as a whole.
“Skye is an increasingly popular and unique island and it is important, that we meet the needs of the increasing number of tourists who come here, while at the same time also supporting the day to day life styles of our residents.”
Leader of Orkney Islands Council, James Stockan, said:
“The Standing Stones of Stenness have seen increasing pressure over recent years. Any contribution towards upgrading visitor facilities to this popular attraction within our Hearth of Neolithic World Heritage Site is very welcome, alongside the continued commitment from Historic Environment Scotland and other partners to our wider partnership ambition in relation to a World Heritage Site Masterplan and long-term investment programme.”