Highlanders urged to apply for new batch of rural tourism funding

Kate Forbes MSP has urged community groups across the Highlands to consider applying for Scottish Government funding aimed at helping rural communities deal with increased tourism.

The Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund, which is administered by VisitScotland, is intended to help tourist attractions and surrounding communities deal with the impact of increased visitor numbers through upgrades to infrastructure such as parking areas, toilet facilities and recycling points.

Almost half of the original £6 million funding has been allocated to projects in Ms Forbes’ Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency, and a further £3 million was announced for RTIF earlier this year by the Scottish Government. This further round of funding is now inviting expressions of interest.

Only local authorities and national parks can apply for funding, meaning that community groups and agencies must first speak to Highland Council (or the Cairngorm National Park Authority) to see if they have an eligible project.

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: “This is another fantastic opportunity for the communities in my constituency to access funding.

“The RTIF has thus far made a big difference to communities who are dealing with the pressures of tourism in their area.

“The funding ensures that money goes directly to communities, rather than getting absorbed elsewhere.

“I regularly hear about the need for more car parking, campervan facilities and toilets in some of the most remote and rural areas.

“This money can unlock opportunities to alleviate congestion and relieve pressure.”

To date, £2,973,181 has been allocated to projects in the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency. This includes the Fairy Pools, Neist Point and the Old Man of Storr on Skye, Glenfinnan, Glen Nevis and Mallaig/Morar in Lochaber, Glenmore near Loch Morlich, the Isle of Eigg and Cromarty on the Black Isle.

The deadline to register an expression of interest for this round of RTIF funding is January 2020.

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