What is the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund?
The increasing popularity of outstanding scenic areas stimulated by marketing successes such as the North Coast 500, film tourism and the huge growth in cruise liner arrivals has led to rapid increases in visitor numbers. This has resulted in some areas, at certain times of the year, experiencing pressure on infrastructure and negative impacts on some local communities.
On 10 October 2017 the First Minister announced a £6 million Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) to address some of these concerns.
Administered by VisitScotland, this fund will support sustainable, well planned, inspiring, and collaborative infrastructure projects that focus on improving the visitor experience and enable more visitors to enjoy Scotland’s rural communities.
Who can apply?
The types of project that could be supported include parking, camping facilities, disposal points (especially for camper vans) and toilet provision.
The fund is a platform which will provide leverage of additional and focused investment, stimulate collaboration and build capacity within communities.
Successful applications must demonstrate the following:
- A visitor or community pressure point due to increased visitor numbers
- An enhanced visitor experience
- A sustainable approach
- Community capacity building
- Effective partnerships and collaboration
- Project viability and deliverability
Only Local Authorities and National Park Authorities can apply for funding. However, Community Groups and other agencies can apply to their Local Authority or National Park if they have an eligible project.
If you have any further queries, please email RTIF@visitscotland.com
Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund - Round Two
Moray Council. Visitor Parking and Access Improvements at Pluscarden Abbey £80,500. Provision of 34 new car and two coach parking spaces, toilets and seating area to address parking and infrastructure issues as a result of increased visitor numbers to the Abbey.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority. East Loch Lomond: A Joined-up Approach £124,000. Infrastructure improvement to Balmaha Visitor Centre to enhance the quantity and quality of the toilet and litter provision to alleviate the tourism volume pressure on East Loch Lomond at Balmaha and Milarrochy Bay.
Approved Projects Subject to Conditions
Highland Council. Enhanced Visitor Facilities for An Laimhrig, Isle of Eigg £273,632. Addressing capacity and services provided in Eigg’s only visitor facilities at the pier centre creating four new toilets and showers, interpretation and signage.
Stirling Council. Doune Tourism Development £239,560. A partnership between Historic Environment Scotland, Stirling Council and the local community to address issues arising from the growth in visitor numbers at Doune Castle. Includes refurbishment of the village toilets, extensions to the path network between the Castle and village, signage and interpretation.
Shetland Islands Council. Hermaness Visitor Hub and Access Improvements £300,000. The increased number of visitors is causing major erosion of the peat landscape. Shetland Islands Council and Scottish Natural Heritage plan to provide an elevated boardwalk across the peatland, provision of toilets, improved car parking and interpretation.
Highland Council. Glen Nevis – Improved Visitor Facilities £300,000. Address the needs of increased visitor numbers and improve the visitor experience to Glen Nevis with a clear vehicle access strategy, installing public transport access facilities, parking, signage, paths and toilet facilities at Lower Steall Falls Car Park.
Highland Council. Portree Parking £300,000. Expansion parking area and provision of motorhome facilities to cope with visitor demand at Portree. The project will create an extended hardstanding area in west Bayfield carpark, providing more parking spaces, day parking for motorhomes with waste and water facilities.
Fife Council. Falkland – Edge of Village Parking £300,000. Falkland is experiencing increased visitor numbers and a masterplan for parking has been designed by Fife Council and the local community. A new car park with 32 cars and eight coach spaces will be developed on the edge of the village with disabled parking in the village centre.
Highland Council. Cromarty Tourism Development Project £300,000. There has been a 30% growth in the traffic on the Nigg-Cromarty Ferry. Highland Council and Cromarty Community Development Trust aim to provide campervan facilities including hard standing, waste disposal and toilets along with improved slipways for the Cromarty-Nigg ferry.
Highland Council. Old Man of Storr Footpath Improvement Project £184,506. There has been a significant increase in visitor numbers on the footpath to the Old Man of Storr on Skye. Highland Council will enhance visitor access while protecting iconic landscapes and internationally important habitats.
Argyll & Bute Council. Ulva Ferry Shore Facilities Development £250,000. This project will provide additional parking, motorhome hard standings, electric hook ups and waste disposal facilities to reduce visitor pressure at Ulva Ferry on Mull.
Argyll & Bute Council. Gigha Camp and Motorhome Site £171,000. Provision of motorhome and camping facilities adjacent to the Gigha ferry terminal with recycling and waste facilities for motorhome users, toilets, showers and laundry facilities for visitors.
Highland Council. Glenfinnan Footbridge and Path £53,704. Final phase of the Glenfinnan Viaduct project to create a footbridge and new path to link the new car park supported on Round 1 of the RTIF to the existing path to the viaduct preventing the need to walk up the main trunk road for access.
Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund - Round One
Argyll & Bute Council. Fionnphort Car Park Improvements £58,930. Upgrade to the Columba Centre car park at Fionnphort to provide space for campervans and dedicated disabled parking.
Dumfries & Galloway Council. Criffel - Sea to Summit £210,000. Works include 1.3 km summit path to create a sustainable, durable and accessible route with improvements to the car park, signage and interpretation.
Scottish Borders Council. Eildon Hills Pathways £102,178. The project will deliver 4km of upland path improvements to improve the quality of the visitor experience and prevent erosion at this popular site.
Argyll & Bute Council. Bruichladdich - Port Charlotte Pathway £300,000. An accessible all abilities pathway to link the accommodation and tourism businesses in Port Charlotte with the Bruichladdich businesses and Distillery and provide a safe route for non-vehicle traffic.
Highland Council. Storr Parking & Visitor Facilities £300,000. New toilet and motorhome facilities at Storr to support walkers, cars, coaches and cyclists which will complement the car parking development already underway.
Highland Council. Lochcarron North Coast 500 £129,325. Five enhanced viewpoints on the 11.5 m stretch of the Lochcarron – Bealach na Ba road between Tornapress and Applecross with parking spaces for motorhomes.
Highland Council. Mallaig - Traigh Motorhome Facilities £286,286.50. New toilet and motorhome service facilities at Mallaig and the refurbishment of the existing but disused toilets at Traigh Beach with improved signage and information.
Highland Council. Blabheinn Toilets and Parking £65,579. Green toilet facilities in a popular climbing and visitor site with improved and extended car parking, signage and information provision.
Shetland Islands Council. Parking Hub at Hoswick £131,660. Parking hub to reduce the pressure from visitors and cruise coaches in the small village of Hoswick and improve the visitor experience and reduce pressure on the community.
Cairngorms National Park. Muir of Dinnet £60,000. Improvements to the car parking and toilet facilities and provide waste disposal facilities to address demand and prevent roadside parking.
Cairngorms National Park. Active Glenmore £226,786. A new 1.1 km path, linking four car parks, visitor attractions and accommodation will improve safety and access in a key visitor hotspot in the Cairngorms.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. Tourism Outer Hebrides 2020 £230,000. A multi partner project to develop an Island wide network of facilities and infrastructure to improve the visitor experience including car parks, campervan service points, electrical hook up points and signage.
Highland Council. Motorhome Facilities - The Cludgie Project £50,050. Provision waste disposal and fresh water supply facility for motorhomes/campervans in Lochinver.
Highland Council. Glenfinnan Parking £269,906. Additional parking to cater for 100 cars and 10 motorhomes/buses in Glenfinnan attracted by the Harry Potter films to the viaduct and the steam train.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority. West Loch Lomond £260,000. Package of improvements to relieve visitor pressure at Luss and redirect toilet stop traffic to locations further up the west of Loch Lomond at Tarbet and Inveruglas as well as improvements to the toilets at Luss to increase accessibility.
Approved Projects Subject to Conditions
Dumfries & Galloway Council. Raiders Road - Otter Pool £58,000. Refurbished toilets and improved access to the water’s edge. Recycling and disposal waste system at Clatteringshaws for visitors and mobile home users.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority. Falls of Leny £247,000. A community led partnership project to improve the visitor infrastructure including proposed new car park at Bochastle, Kilmahog to facilitate visitor access to the Falls and walkers to Ben Ledi.