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Funding boost for Scotland’s rural tourist sites

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Funding boost for Scotland’s rural tourist sites

Tourist sites in Scotland’s rural areas are being encouraged to apply for a share of £3m funding aimed at helping them meet the demand of growing visitor numbers.

A total of 31 projects across 10 local authorities and two national park authorities have already been offered grants worth nearly £6m in the previous two rounds of Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) awards and applications are now open for the third round.

The fund – administered by VisitScotland – aims to help tourist attractions and their communities deal with the impact of increased visitor numbers on the local infrastructure by helping with improvements such as parking areas, visitor facilities and recycling points.

On a visit to Moray, Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop 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, said: “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.”

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