Rural projects encouraged to apply to tourism fund

Glenfinnan viaduct
Norette Ferns

The third round of the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) is now open for applications.

Tourists sites in rural Scotland are being encouraged to apply for a share of £3 million funding. RTIF aims to help tourist attractions and their communities deal with the impact of increased visitor numbers on local infrastructure by helping with improvements like parking areas, visitor facilities and recycling points.

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 RTIF. 

The fund is administered by VisitScotland.

Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead, said:

"I am delighted that VisitScotland will again be able to assist local communities experiencing pressure points to improve their facilities through our administration of the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

"It is so important that we support communities in these locations to ensure the continued growth of tourism in Scotland, as well as encouraging our visitors to explore the lesser-known areas.

"VisitScotland works closely with communities and businesses to showcase the rich assets, hidden gems and local stories of every region in Scotland. We promote Scotland with Scotland. Partnership and collaboration is at the heart of Scottish tourism and we work with local industry to develop and deliver innovative initiatives that grow the visitor economy."

Previously approved projects include 4km of upland path improvements at Eildon Hills in the Scottish Borders to improve the quality of the visitor experience and prevent erosion at this popular site and additional parking to cater for 100 cars and ten motorhomes/buses in Glenfinnan attracted by the Harry Potter films to the viaduct and the steam train in the Highlands.

Only Local Authorities and National Park Authorities can apply for funding. However, community groups and other agencies can apply to their Local Authority or National Park if they have an eligible project. Individual businesses are not eligible for RTIF.

Two workshops are taking place to help applicants understand the application process, one in Edinburgh on 9 December and the other in Inverness on 11 December.

For full information go to the VisitScotland website.

The deadline for Expression of Interest Applications is 22 January 2020.