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Tourism firms urged to install electric vehicle charging points to boost business

Electric vehicles are becoming more popular
Electric vehicles are becoming more popular

Tourism operators are being urged to install electric vehicle charging points to help sustainable travel and boost their business.

With growing numbers of EVs on the roads, demand for charging points is increasing and can influence where people visit.

Visitor attractions can now apply to a new fund for help towards the installation of an electric vehicle (EV) charge point.

Improving the EV charging network

The move is aimed at improving the network of charge points across Scotland and encourage responsible tourism among businesses and visitors.

Businesses in the north and north-east which have already installed charge points are encouraging others to follow suit with electric vehicles becoming more popular.

EVA (Electric Vehicle Association) Scotland, which promotes the switch to electric vehicles, says every effort must be made to ensure the EV charging infrastructure is in place.

Director Neil Swanson says the new fund will encourage and support EV tourism.

“EVA Scotland sees this as a key tool to support eco-tourism and tourism in general in the Highlands.

Neil Swanson, director of EVA Scotland.

“Being able to charge overnight at their destinations, tourists know that they will have a trouble free visit, charging while they eat or sleep, all while supporting local businesses.”

He said businesses will be able to publicise on EV platforms as well as booking sites where the service is a valuable search tool when planning trips.

“Drivers already seek out accommodation that allows overnight charging, starting each day fully charged to explore local attractions.”

As of March, 22.2% of new registered vehicles were electric, bringing the number of electric vehicles on the road to more than 700,000.

In addition, VisitScotland research shows 43% are interested in changing to electric/hybrid within the next few years.

Fears over switching to EV

Price and fears around sufficient charging points are among the main obstacles for people to switch from petrol or diesel vehicles.

The UK has more than 50,000 EV connectors in 18,000 different locations, 10% of which are located in Scotland.

The £325,000 Electric Vehicle Charge Point Tourism Recovery Fund, launched last week, will support around 100 charge points.

It is administered by the Energy Saving Trust on behalf of VisitScotland, and the Scottish Government.

Tourism minister Ivan McKee said the fund will play a significant role in helping businesses install the charging points.

He said: “This will, in turn, make driving an electric car further appealing, as well as aiding the decarbonisation of the transport system across Scotland.”

EV charging points could help boost business as well as helping the environment

Rob Dickson, director of industry and destination development at VisitScotland is chairman of the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG).

He said: “Tackling climate change is the biggest challenge facing Scottish tourism now, and in the future, and we want to inspire future generations to say that Scottish tourism led the way and made a difference.”

The Nevis Range mountain resort installed eight EV charging points as part of sustainability drive.

It has already achieved carbon neutral status and is on its way to net-zero.

Managing director Chris O’Brien said: “The sustainability strategy is so important to us and has improved the business.

“Our EV charge points are very successful. They show us as a business that cares and also help people in their decision-making on where they should choose as their venue.”

‘The more people that have them the better’

He said he would encourage other tourism operators “100%” to use the fund to install EV points.

“The more people that have them the better for everybody.

“It’s no secret that public transport is a challenge in our part of the world.

“So, if we want to bring people from the cities, giving them the confidence they can get regular charge points around the Highlands can only be good for business.”

The Grampian Transport Museum has two charge points on site as well as council-owned points in the car park.

Museum manager Ross McKirdy says they are very popular with visitors: “I’ve had feedback that people come here because we have EV charging points.

The Nevis Range report has installed EV charging points as part of a sustainability strategy

“EV use is going up constantly each year. And as more and more people are starting to use EVs there will be more need for the charging points.”

The museum is currently holding an exhibition on the evolution of the EV and next month will host an electric vehicle Expo.

“The charging points are very much in line with what we are doing here, looking at the past but also the future”, says Ross.

The new fund is part of the Destination Net Zero programme, a key strand in the Scottish Government’s Covid tourism recovery programme.

It aims to support businesses and destinations as they transition to a future of net zero emissions.

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