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What is the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund?

The increasing popularity of outstanding scenic areas stimulated by marketing successes such as the North Coast 500 and the rise in popularity of the motorhome sector 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 and a further £3 million was announced by the Scottish Government for a third round of funding in 2020.  

Administered by VisitScotland, the third round sought to build on the momentum generated by the first two rounds of funds to create a strategic network of facilities which will meet visitor and community needs as the industry moves into the recovery phase of the STERG National Action Plan. RTIF will provide leverage for additional and focused investment, stimulate collaboration and support the transition of Scotland to a low carbon economy.

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

Who can apply?

The types of project that could be supported include parking, campervan facilities including disposal points, viewpoints and toilet provision.

Successful applications must demonstrate the following:

  • A visitor or community pressure point due to increase or anticipated increase in visitor numbers
  • An enhanced visitor experience 
  • A sustainable approach to the planning design, build and management of the project
  • Effective partnerships and collaboration
  • Project viability and deliverability
  • Community capacity building

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.

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

RTIF | Frequently asked questions

Published July 2020

Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund - Round Three

Approved Projects Subject to Conditions

Aberdeenshire Council. St Cyrus National Nature Reserve (NNR) Parking and Toilet Improvements £201,925. A partnership project between Aberdeenshire Council and NatureScot to upgrade and expand the car parking at St Cyrus National Nature Reserve to provide an additional 40 parking spaces for cars and motorhomes to cope with increased visitor numbers at the site. The project includes refurbishment of the toilets to include a changing places standard toilet, and provision of additional cycling racks, EV charge points and a chemical disposal point.

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority. Trossachs Visitor Management Project £375,000. A partnership project between the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, SS Sir Walter Scott Trust and Forestry and Land Scotland. The project will address a number of the issues seen over the past few years with increasing visitor pressure in the Trossachs.  Activity will include additional motorhome, car parking and cyclist provision at Trossachs Pier, Ben A'an and Stronachlachar. Provision of new toilet facilities at Trossachs Pier and improved signage and orientation provision to manage visitors through the Trossachs.

Fife Council. Fife Outdoor Tourism Infrastructure Programme £375,00. Partnership project between Fife Council and Fife Countryside Trust to provide a network of parking, toilets, interpretative and renewable energy points for EV and EB charging serving the Fife Coastal path, the Pilgrims Way and Fife 191 driving route. The project will deliver new facilities in locations such as Elie, Pittenweem, Kinghorn, Craigmead and Glenvale.

Highland Council. Photographers Knoll footpath - Old Man of Storr £151,343. Phase two of the Highland Council led Storr mountain footpath restoration project which would take visitors from the recently completed path work under Round Two of RTIF, up between the Old Man and the Needle to the junction of the Necklace path and then on to the Photographers Knoll paths. This will complete the package of works including the soon to be completed toilets funded under Round One of RTIF and the new car park.

East Lothian Council. Gullane Bents Sustainable Tourism Project £TBC. Project by East Lothian Council to provide enhanced toilets and showering facilities at the popular Gullane Bents with a fully accessible changing places toilet improving access to the site for all. East Lothian Council aim to encourage low carbon transport access to the site with emphasis on cycling and public transport.

Highland Council. Sustainable Visitor Infrastructure in Glencoe and Glen Etive £375,000. Partnership project between Highland Council and the National Trust for Scotland to address increasing visitor pressures in Glencoe and Glen Etive through provision of an overarching plan for an improved visitor infrastructure and management routes along the A82. The project will improve car parking provision, paths and address visitor management issues.

Aberdeenshire Council. Glenshee Toilet Improvements £TBC. Replacement of the current toilets owned by Aberdeenshire Council at Glenshee with new, fully accessible toilet facilities and showers with 24hr/ 365 days access for walkers, climbers and visitors on the Snow Roads Scenic Route and a gateway to Royal Deeside. The project will also provide a grey and wastewater disposal point for motorhomes, new cycle facilities and an EB charge point.

Shetland Islands Council. Scalloway Camping and Recreational Facility (SCARF) £253,428. A partnership project between Shetland Islands Council and the Scalloway Community Development Company to plug a key gap in local provision of facilities for camping, caravans and motorhomes in Shetland, and meet the growing demand for motorhome facilities. The development will include provision for 10 motorhome/caravan overnight bays with toilets and shower facilities, waste disposal and recycling points.

Highland Council. Kinlochewe Tourist Facilities £TBC. A partnership between Highland Council and Community Out West Trust in Kinlochewe to provide new carbon neutral toilets and shower facilities, and CWD facility adjacent to Kinlochewe River on the NC500 route. 

Perth & Kinross Council. Improving facilities for Loch Leven Heritage Trail users £303,711. A partnership project between Perth & Kinross Council and RSPB Scotland at the RSPB Reserve at Loch Leven. The Reserve has become a hub for the Loch Leven Heritage Trail and the Sleeping Giant Path which connects the Reserve with Lochore Meadows Country Park resulting in visitors number increasing from 50,000 to 200,000 per annum. The project will enlarge the car park to create an additional 100 car parking spaces, provide six twin EV charging points, and new toilets including a changing places facility. 

Highland Council. Ardmamurchan Lighthouse Project £192,000. A partnership project between Highland Council and the Arnamurchan Lighthouse Trust to improve provision of the external free to access parts of the site in this remote peninsula. Works include improved car parking, paths, walkways and the creation of new viewpoints. The project will improve access and egress from the site and address safety concerns from the increasing numbers of visitors.

Aberdeenshire Council. Newburgh Seal Watching Experience £130,500. Phase One of a partnership project between Aberdeenshire Council and Newburgh and Ythan Community Trust SCIO to upgrade and increase the capacity of the car park at Newburgh Links which is part of the National Nature Reserve covering the Ythan Estuary which has attracted increasing numbers of visitors to watch the seal colony established at the Links.

Highland Council. The Cludgie Project - Phase Two £102,345. Phase Two proposal by Highland Council and Assynt Development Trust which will see the completion of the motorhome provision and waste disposal unit at this key location on the NC500. 

 

Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund - Round Two

Approved Projects

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. 

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. 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.

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

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.

East Lothian Council. Longniddry Bents £240,000. The refurbishment of 3 toilet facilities at Longniddry Bents in East Lothian which has more than 600,000  visitors every year. The improvements planned include the installation  of a fully accessible Changing Places toilet, outdoor showers and tourist information provision

Approved Projects Subject to Conditions

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. 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. 

 

Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund - Round One

Approved Projects

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. 

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.

Approved Projects Subject to Conditions

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority. Falls of Leny £233,199. A community led partnership project which seeks to improve the visitor infrastructure at with a footpath to the lower Falls from Bochastle Car Park, a viewing area, seating and interpretation.