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Alex Cole-Hamilton sets out plan to boost Scottish tourism on Highlands visit

Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Alex Cole-Hamilton.
Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Alex Cole-Hamilton.

Better car parking and electric charging points, public toilets and access to superfast broadband could help rural areas take advantage of a surge in staycations to Scotland, Alex Cole-Hamilton has said.

The Scottish Liberal Democrat leader used a visit to the Highlands to promote his party’s pledge to support Scottish tourism and “ensure that it works for the communities who call the place home”.

The Lib Dems’ local election manifesto calls for adopting new tourism strategies to take advantage of a boom in people choosing to holiday in Scotland.

It also urges a substantial programme of capital works in tourism-friendly areas to provide better car parking, electric charging points, public toilets and waste disposal points.

Choices have changed

Speaking on the visit on Sunday, Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “We are so lucky to live in a beautiful country with a fascinating history.

“Lifestyles, services, travel patterns and choices have changed, sometimes permanently, whilst many local businesses have adapted to new opportunities.

“There are major opportunities to keep ‘leisure pounds’ local and to back good local businesses which provide sustainable local jobs.

“The Scottish Government has barely tapped the surface of the potential of our world-class food and drinks industries for example.”

Highlands must not be overrun

Mr Cole-Hamilton stressed that amid any opportunities, it is important to ensure communities who already live in these locations all year round are not forgotten about.

“That means making sure cities like Edinburgh have appropriate licensing regimes in place and providing new amenities in areas like the Highlands so that they are not overrun by tourists,” he said.

“Every Scottish Liberal Democrat councillor elected on May 5 will offer new hope to Scotland’s tourist businesses and the communities that they sit among.”

The Scottish Liberal Democrats manifesto pledges to:

  • Improve access to superfast broadband by using “community connection managers” to broker bespoke solutions on a case-by-case basis – including in remote and island areas left out of central government schemes.
  •  Create a new “restitution order”, the proceeds of which would help victims wiht the cost of clearing up fly-tipping and increase efforts to catch tippers.
  • Encourage more diverse, small and micro businesses through council enterprise support schemes.
  • Support food strategies designed to reduce food miles, encourage greater use of local produce in schools, back community food initiatives and champion regional specialties.

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