Rural tourist sites encouraged to apply for new funding

TOURIST sites in Scotland’s rural areas can now apply for a share of £3 million in Scottish Government funding.

Administered by VisitScotland, the fund will aim to help tourist attractions and their communities deal with increased visitor numbers by helping with improvements such as parking areas, visitor facilities and recycling points.

Fiona Hyslop, tourism secretary, said, “While we should be proud that Scotland’s breathtaking natural scenery and rich historical sites attract so many visitors and help the local economy, we know that this success is often tempered by increased pressure on communities, services, transport and facilities – particularly in rural areas.

“The importance of a fund dedicated to helping deal with increasing demand can be seen by the level of interest in the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund since its creation in 2017 and the improvements it has been able to fund. That is why in September we announced that a further £3 million was being made available to invest in new projects in 2020-21.

“Applications are now being invited from local authorities and national park authorities to apply individually or in partnership with their communities for a share of this pot. This investment is crucial so that visitors from home and abroad can continue to enjoy our fantastic landscape, culture and hospitality for years to come.”

VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead, added, “I am delighted that VisitScotland will again be able to assist local communities experiencing pressure points to improve their facilities through our administration of the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

“It is so important that we support communities in these locations to ensure the continued growth of tourism in Scotland, as well as encouraging our visitors to explore the lesser-known areas.

“VisitScotland works closely with communities and businesses to showcase the rich assets, hidden gems and local stories of every region in Scotland. We promote Scotland with Scotland. Partnership and collaboration is at the heart of Scottish tourism and we work with local industry to develop and deliver innovative initiatives that grow the visitor economy.”