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What is the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund?

The Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) was established by the Scottish Government and the Fund is managed by VisitScotland on its behalf. To date, £15 million of grant funding has been awarded to 66 projects across rural Scotland, since the start of the Fund in 2018. 

RTIF is designed to support collaborative projects which focus on improving the visitor experience in rural parts of Scotland that are facing pressure on their infrastructure and communities as a result of  visitor numbers.

To enable a more strategic approach to visitor infrastructure development and greater alignment with the objectives of Scotland Outlook 2030 and the new National Strategy for Economic Development, RTIF has supported the development of 24 Strategic Tourism Infrastructure Development Plans in rural areas across Scotland. The Strategic Infrastructure Plans will inform the priorities for RTIF over the next three to five years. 

RTIF 2022 / 23 (Round 5) | Application process

RTIF has a two stage application process and all applicants must submit an initial Expression of Interest (EOI) application. Only EOIs which have been approved are invited to submit a Stage 2 application. 

You can submit an EOI any time between Thursday 26 May 2022 and Thursday 21 July 2022.

Design grants of up to £6,000 at 70% intervention rate are available for any projects submitting an Expression of Interest before Thursday 21 July 2022.

The Stage 2 application deadline is Thursday 1 September 2022.

RTIF criteria, conditions and guidelines 2022 /23

Published May 2022

RTIF Expression of Interest Application 2022 /23 (Round 5)

Published May 2022

RTIF 2022 / 23 (Round 5) | Frequently asked questions

Published May 2022

Who can apply?

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. Individual businesses are not eligible for RTIF.

What can be supported?

The types of project that could be supported include parking, motorhome facilities (including disposal points), viewpoints, paths, toilet provision and EV and e-bike charge points.

Successful applications must support the objectives of Scotland Outlook 2030 and the new National Strategy for Economic Development as well as demonstrate the following:

An existing or anticipated visitor pressure point  - As a result of previous or anticipated increases in visitor numbers, there is a visitor and or community pressure point which is likely to continue and needs to be addressed. The applicant should provide evidence of the increase in visitor numbers or anticipated impact of visitor numbers and / or evidence of the impact of visitors on the local area.

That a strategic need is met or gap is addressed by the actions proposed - Priority will be given to early actions identified by the Strategic Tourism Infrastructure Development Plans or other strategic plans by Local Authorities, the National Parks, NatureScot or Forestry & Land Scotland. Applicants should provide a strategic content for the project and evidence to support this.

Provision of a quality visitor experience - Provision of high quality visitor facilities and infrastructure, leading to a positive impact on the local landscape and visitor economy is a key criteria for RTIF support. Applicants should demonstrate the commitment to place principles and a quality design which can accommodate visitors with a wide variety of access needs and complies with and where possible exceeds the requirements of the Equality Act.

A responsible tourism approach - Applicants are expected to take a responsible tourism approach to the planning, design, build and management of the infrastructure provision addressing the issues generated as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

A carbon conscious approach - Applications should provide details on how their project will contribute to the reduction / mitigation of climate change and support the transition to a low carbon society i.e. using low carbon materials, energy efficiency, promotion of low carbon transport, renewable energy and waste management in construction and maintenance of the facilities. Applicants should demonstrate their commitment to carbon consciousness where a location reuses, repurposes and considers whole life costs, retrofitting existing structures and considering the embodied carbon in place.

Community capacity building - Creating more resilient communities more able to cope with peak tourism demands and the creation of new local business opportunities.

Effective partnerships and collaboration - Applicants must provide evidence of engagement with local community groups, destination organisations and tourism businesses, demonstrating how partnership working can increase awareness, advocacy and the quality of the final project.

Project viability and deliverability - applicants must provide evidence of:

  • Proven experience of project management and financial administration 
  • A clear timetable for permissions, procurement, site start date and expected time of completion
  • A clear delivery plan demonstrating value for money and measurable outputs
  • Detailed costs and a budget forecast for the period of the project

If you have any further queries, please email RTIF@visitscotland.com.

 

Information about approved projects from each round can be found on this page:

Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund - Round Four

RTIF Round Four Approved Projects

Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund - Round Three

 

 

Approved projects

Approved projects, subject to conditions

Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund - Round Two

Approved projects

Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund - Round One

Approved projects

Approved projects, subject to conditions

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