Success of Tourism Sector Leads to Investment in Communities

Orkney Folk Festival

photo Nick Morrison

A  Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund which will see £6 million invested over two years starting in 2018  has been announced by the Scottish Government.

This year has been an extremely successful one for tourism in Scotland. In Orkney over 5 years there has been an increase of 300% in cruise ship passenger numbers according to the O.I.C’s  Marine Services .

The short sea John O’Groats Ferry is also able to accommodate 250 passengers and operates a daily service from 1st May. Travellers also arrive via the Northlink and Pentalina ferries, Kirkwall airport and by our popular marinas.

For Historic Environment Scotland, 104,224 visitors went through the doors of the Skara Brae centre between April and September of this year. The pay for site is ranked as the 4th highest earner run by HES.

Other areas in Scotland that have seen a steep rise in visitor numbers include:

  • The North Coast 500 route attracting an extra 29,000 visitors to the Highlands, with the area experiencing a 26% annual rise in visitors compared to a 6% increase across the rest of the region
  • The ‘Outlander effect’ on Historic Environment Scotland sites, with those featuring in the television series continuing to see large annual visitor increases – including 44% for Blackness Castle and a 42% rise at Doune Castle
  • The Isle of Skye continuing to grow in popularity, with Visit Scotland’s Portree centre seeing more than 150,000 tourist visits annually, increasing 5% year-on-year
June 20th Kirkwall Harbour

A Summer’s Night Kirkwall Harbour June 20th 2017 )K Armet)

The new fund is expected to launch in early 2018  and will involve partnership working between  public bodies, local authorities, communities and the tourism sector.

First Minister in the Scottish Government, Nicola Sturgeon said:

“Our new £6 million Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund will take bids from communities and work with local councils to support projects that enable even more people to enjoy Scotland, the most beautiful country in the world.”

The new fund will support a wide range of improvement projects – such as parking, camping facilities, recycling points and footpath access.

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