By Emma Dodd
The Scottish government has pledged £3 million to rural infrastructure projects in a bid to mitigate the impact tourism has on small communities and their facilities.
More than a dozen sites across the country that are managed by VisitScotland will benefit from the third round of the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF).
These will include improvements to campervan facilities, parking, toilets and viewpoints in a bid to prevent a negative impact on places that ordinarily receive large amounts of footfall.
When it’s safe to welcome visitors back to these locations, it’s hoped they will be managed in a collaborative and sustainable manner along with local communities.
Among the projects expected to benefit are:
- The Fife Outdoor Tourism Infrastructure Programme, which is set to receive £375,000 to set up a network of parking places, toilets and electric vehicle charging points. It’s a partnership between Fife Council and Fife Countryside Trust that looks after the Fife coastal path, the Pilgrims Way and Fife 191 driving route.
- The Trossachs Visitor Management Project, where £375,000 of funding will enable Trossachs Pier, Ben A’an and Stronachlachar to offer better facilities for those driving cars or motorhomes and cyclists.
- The management of visitors to Glencoe and Glen Etive, which is in need of an overarching plan. Everything from parking and paths will be covered by the £375,000 from the government.
- St Cyrus National Nature Reserve, which will receive £201,925 for an additional 40 parking spaces for cars and motorhomes, refurbishment of the toilets and a chemical disposal point. The joint project between Aberdeenshire Council and NatureScot will also provide cycling racks and electric vehicle charging points.
Malcolm Roughead, chief executive at VisitScotland, said: “It is so important that we support work that aims to improve visitor facilities and the visitor experience, particularly when the tourism, hospitality and events industries remain closed under the current restrictions.
“Tourism is a force for good and if managed responsibly, sustains communities in every corner of Scotland, creates jobs, tackles depopulation and improves the wellbeing of everyone who experiences it.”