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Rural tourism investment

Press Release   •   Oct 05, 2018 10:43 BST

The Glenfinnan viaduct on the West Highland Line

Some of Scotland’s most iconic, rural tourist sites will receive funding for new facilities to further enhance the visitor experience.

Around £3 million from the first round of the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) will be shared among 18 projects across Scotland to help meet the demand of growing visitor numbers - including:

  • £300,000 for new toilet and motorhome facilities at the Old Man of Storr, Skye
  • £269,906 for additional parking for 100 cars and 10 motorhomes at the Glenfinnan Viaduct
  • £260,000 for improvements to toilets along West Loch Lomond at Luss, Tarbet and Inveruglas
  • £226,000 for new paths linking car parks, visitor attractions and accommodation at the Cairngorms National Park
  • £58,000 for toilets and other visitor facilities at the Otter Pools in Dumfries and Galloway
  • £131,660 for a parking hub at the village of Hoswick in Shetland

Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop announced the funding on a visit to Glenfinnan Viaduct, which has seen an influx of visitors since featuring in the Harry Potter films.

She said: “The growing popularity of our stunning natural scenery and rich historical sites is great for bringing jobs and investment to our communities but can also put pressure on communities, services, transport and facilities - particularly in rural areas.

“This funding will help our industry keep up with the tourism boom by supporting the creation of much needed infrastructure such as new pathways, car parks and facilities at some of our most iconic rural and natural attractions. This investment is crucial so that visitors from home and abroad can continue to enjoy our fantastic landscape, culture and hospitality for years to come.”

Malcolm Roughead chief executive of VisitScotland said: “Due to the continued success of tourism, it is crucial that we address those pinch points already identified and futureproof those areas where demand is growing. The Scottish Government Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) will help these communities improve their facilities and enhance their offering to welcome more visitors in the future.

“VisitScotland, along with other agencies and industry partners, needs to encourage the tourism industry to provide world class service, facilities, events and attractions to keep up with ever-changing consumer demands and ensure visitors continue to have memorable experiences. This fund is a critical step towards ensuring that the tourism infrastructure meets current and future demand.”

Chair of the Highland Council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Allan Henderson said: “The Glenfinnan Viaduct is one of the Highlands’ most iconic attractions, most recently recognised for its part in the Harry Potter films, as well as MacAlpine’s first major construction with concrete.

“Glenfinnan is also a popular destination because of the historic associations with Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite rebellion, meaning large numbers also visit the National Trust for Scotland Visitor Centre and the associated Jacobite Monument. With the overall number of visitors to Highland increasing, this has taken the parking issues to unsustainable levels which are causing major congestion and safety issues on the A830 trunk road which splits both sites.

“This funding will help to ease some of that pressure with new parking for 100 cars and 10 motorhome or bus spaces and will be great news for both visitors and the local community.”


The fund which was administered by VisitScotland was open to local authorities to apply on behalf of their communities, and was aimed at funding infrastructure improvements such as parking, camping, visitor facilities and recycling points. A total £6 million investment will be split between 2018-19 and 2019-20.

The full list of recipients of the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund is available from VisitScotland HERE with all funding subject to conditions.

The projects include:

Argyll and Bute - Fionphort and Craignure Car park improvements, Bruichladdich-Port Charlotte pathway, Tiree Turf and Surf

Cairngorms National Park - Muir of Dinnet, Active Glenmore

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar - Tourism Outer Hebrides 2020

Dumfries and Galloway - Raiders Road-Otter Pool, Criffel - Sea to Summit

Highlands - Storr parking and visitor facilities, the Lochinver project, Glenfinnan, Lochcarron North Coast 500, Mallaig-Traigh motorhome facility, Blabheinn toilets and parking

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs - Falls of Lenny, West Loch Lomond

Scottish Borders - Eildon Hills pathways

Shetland - parking hub at Hoswick

Three pilots projects in Skye and Orkney received a share of £480,000 earlier this year. 


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