Tourism fund now open for applications

Tuesday November 12th, 2019

Rural projects encouraged to apply.flag_3570425Large

Tourist sites in Scotland’s rural areas can now apply for a share of £3 million funding aimed at helping them meet the demand of growing visitor numbers.

A total of 31 projects across 10 local authorities and two national park authorities have already been offered grants worth nearly £6 million in the previous two rounds of Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) awards and applications are now open for the third round.

The fund – administered by VisitScotland – aims to help tourist attractions and their communities deal with the impact of increased visitor numbers on the local infrastructure by helping with improvements such as parking areas, visitor facilities and recycling points.

RTIF is administered by VisitScotland and is open to local authorities and National Park Authorities to apply or in partnership with their communities. A total of £6 million funding was split between 2018-19 and 2019-20. The announcement of the first round was made on 5 October 2018 and round two on 6 June 2019. The announcement of a further £3 million for the fund was made in the First Minister’s Programme for Government on 3 September.

Anticipated outcomes from the first two rounds include:
1030 new or improved parking spaces
11.36 km of paths developed
64 interpretative panels or signage
17 chemical waste disposal facilities for motor homes
3 access bridges
35 overnight motorhome bays
13 new toilet facilities

Ms Hyslop announced the opening for applications at Pluscarden Abbey near Elgin. Pluscarden Abbey is the first of the RTIF round two projects to be completed following funding of £80,500 to help create 34 new car and two coach parking spaces, toilets and a seating area, to address parking and infrastructure issues as a result of increased visitor numbers at the Abbey.

Round three will draw upon lessons learned from the previous rounds, to achieve maximum effectiveness of the funding and fully realise the objectives of the Scottish Government around sustainability and climate change.

As part of this, there will be a number of new approaches, including the introduction of a small grant to support design and planning prior to the stage two submission as well as two workshops to help applicants understand the application process. Interested parties can apply for a place in Edinburgh or Inverness.

Application forms for a share of the third round, together with the full list of recipients of the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund, are available from VisitScotland with funding awards generally still subject to conditions.

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