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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 17/01/2022

Popular visitor destinations across the country will share just under £2.6 million in funding for projects to improve facilities as part of Scotland’s drive for sustainable tourism.

Across the country, 11 projects have been recommended for approval, subject to conditions, to receive support from round four of the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF).

Sustainable tourism takes account of its impact on the community and natural surroundings, maximising the positives whilst minimising the negative effects.

Managed by VisitScotland on behalf of the Scottish Government, the RTIF was created to improve the quality of the visitor experience in rural parts of Scotland that have faced pressure on their infrastructure due to this increase in visitor numbers.

The fund aims to reduce the impact of visitor numbers on local communities and facilities and create a more collaborative and sustainable approach to infrastructure provision and long-term maintenance of local facilities for the benefit of communities. Find out more about the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

Round four was open for applications from local authorities and national park authorities, in partnership with their communities. It was aimed at funding infrastructure improvements such as parking with electric vehicle (EV) charging points and e-bike facilities, campervan facilities (including disposal points) viewpoints and toilet provision.

Scotland’s breathtaking natural scenery and rich historical sites attract many visitors and help the local economy. However, this can also put pressure on communities, services, transport and facilities - particularly in rural areas.

The Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) is dedicated to helping deal with increasing demand, driving sustainable tourism and increasing visitor experience in rural Scotland.

This funding will help our tourism industry as it recovers by supporting the ongoing creation of much needed infrastructure such as new car parks, charging points for vehicles and e-bike facilities at some of our most iconic rural and natural attractions. 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 in a sustainable way.

Ivan McKee, Business and Tourism Minister at Scottish Government

The Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund is an important part of creating a sustainable tourism model in Scotland. Not only does it improve the visitor experience but enhances access and facilities for the wider community.

We all need to play our part in being responsible visitors and these improvement projects will ensure our visitor destinations remain sustainable for years to come.

We're committed to working with the industry and communities to create a long-lasting sustainable tourism destination which will protect the environment and benefit visitors and residents alike.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive at VisitScotland

In an extremely competitive round of applications, 25 were received from 11 local authorities. In this round, assessors have approved a total of 11 projects spanning across the Highlands, Stirling, Argyll and Bute, Perth and Kinross, Moray Speyside, and West Lothian council areas.

Over the four rounds of RTIF, projects across 13 local authorities and both national park authorities have received support - from the Scottish Borders to Shetland. These have included projects at Glenfinnan and Doune Castle to alleviate parking pressures, due to increased interest from Harry Potter and Outlander fans.

Find out more about how we're delivering the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund, and how we're promoting responsible tourism practices across the industry.

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