Published: 10/04/2018 07:00 - Updated: 10/04/2018 10:27

Ross groups can tap new visitor fund

Written byHector MacKenzie

Kate Forbes MSP
Kate Forbes MSP has welcomed the new fund.

 

ROSS groups are being urged to tap a share of a new £6m fund to help meet growing demands from visitors to the area.

The Scottish Government's Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund is now open for applications.

Dingwall-based constituency MSP Kate Forbes is calling on local groups to apply to the fund set up in response to increasing visitor numbers and to help provide the services and facilities needed to improve the experiences of tourists.

The new fund will support a wide range of improvement projects such as parking, camping facilities, recycling points and footpath access.

This is expected to ease pressure on the hugely popular North Coast 500 route as well as at Historic Environment Scotland sites.

Ms Forbes said: "Tourism is vital to the Highland economy, which attracts visitors from all over the world each year.

"Last year, there were some infrastructure issues, particularly on the west coast, and I campaigned for the Scottish government to provide additional funding for rural villages to invest in infrastructure.

"The new £6m Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund was announced in October 2017 by the First Minister. It can help to reduce the pressure on local transport, services and facilities across rural Scotland, as well as improving the visitor experience for the increasing number people visiting the Highlands.

"I am delighted that two of the pilot areas are in my constituency, in Skye. Local groups across Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch that would like to bid for this funding are encouraged to get their applications in now to avoid disappointment."

The latest figures for the 12 months to the end of March 2017 show there was a three per cent annual increase in overseas visits to Scotland and a 9 per cent increase in overseas tourism expenditure.

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