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Proposed Visitor Management Plan for Ross-shire and rest of the region is agreed by Highland Council

By Ali Morrison

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Highland Council's headquarters.
Highland Council's headquarters.

EFFORTS to better manage the growth in visitors to Ross-shire have been approved as part of a wider Highland plan.

Highland Council’s tourism committee agreed the proposed visitor management plan for 2022 to support the growth in visitors to the Highlands.

As well as a range of improvements lined up for roads, parking and seasonal access rangers, the committee also welcomed news that a number of projects in Ross-shire are already either under way or expected to be ready by spring or summer of next year.

These include waste disposal units in Kinlochewe and Balintore, improvements to the Tain Rose Garden public toilets, work on a Cromarty motorhome site and facilities Kinlochewe waste disposal unit; motorhome parking and a waste disposal unit in North Kessock, and improved beach access at both Gruinard Bay and Gairloch. Wider actions involved in the Highland plan include £240,000 on road management and improvements, £160,000 investment in parking management, £350,000 for seasonal access rangers, and £220,000 on waste management.

Six or five-figure sums will also be spent on public toilets, and improved provision for motorhomes and waste disposals.

Councillor Gordon Adam, the committee chairman, said: “Tourism is vital to the economic recovery of the Highlands. Tourism-related jobs can represent up to 43 per cent of the workforce in some areas and it is really important that we continue to strive to improve infrastructure and how we manage the growth in visitor numbers in.

“Significant data gathering has been collated throughout the busy 2021 season. The information has been carefully considered by members and officers in order to learn and to prioritise the key improvements.”

In tandem with the Visitor Management Plan, the council is developing a Tourism Infrastructure Plan which aims to identify the longer-term tourism infrastructure requirements of the region.

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