A collection of popular tourist sites across Scotland will share more than £3million of funding for projects to enhance the visitor experience.
Better car parking provision and paths to ease increasing pressure in Glencoe and Glen Etive will be provided thanks to £375,000 to improve visitor infrastructure and routes along the A82.
This is one of 13 projects to receive cash from round three of the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF).
Highland Council will also get £151,343 for the photographers knoll footpath at the Old Man of Storr in Skye; £192,000 for the Ardnamurchan Lighthouse Project and £102,345 for The Cludgie Project – waste disposal facilities for motorhomes in Assynt. An amount to be confirmed will also go to tourist facilities in Kinlochewe.
Shetland Islands Council will receive £253,428 for Scalloway Camping and Recreational Facility.
St Cyrus National Nature Reserve will have improved parking and toilet facilities thanks to £201,925 for Aberdeenshire Council. The authority is also expected to receive cash for Glenshee toilets and £130,500 for the Newburgh Seal Watching Experience.
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 increased visitor numbers.
It aims to reduce the impact of visitor numbers on local communities and facilities, when it is safe to welcome back tourists.
Round three is aimed at funding infrastructure improvements such as parking, campervan facilities – including disposal points – viewpoints and toilet provision.
Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “While the tourism industry is currently halted due to the national lockdown and the need to keep supressing coronavirus, it’s essential we continue supporting our tourism businesses, especially in rural and remote areas, so they are in the best position possible for welcoming visitors again when conditions allow.
“The Rural Tourism and Infrastructure Fund is key to supporting critical tourism projects in our more remote areas. Thirteen projects will get support in this latest round of funding, improving visitor facilities and enhancing the visitor experience.”
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, said: “I am delighted to announce these 13 projects which have been recommended for approval for RTIF funding. It is so important that we support work that aims to improve visitor facilities and the visitor experience, particularly when the tourism, hospitality and events industries remain closed under the current restrictions.
“We all need to play our part in being responsible visitors and improvement works like these are crucial to ensuring our visitor destinations remain sustainable for years to come. This funding will help local communities improve their facilities, as well as enhancing the visitor experience both for now and in the future when conditions are right and it is safe to do so.
“Tourism is a force for good and if managed responsibly, sustains communities in every corner of Scotland, creates jobs, tackles depopulation and improves the wellbeing of everyone who experiences it. We believe this fund is helping to ensure that the tourism infrastructure for visitors meets current and future demand.”