Orkney Islands Council (OIC) has been awarded £260,000 from the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) administered through VisitScotland, to improve the Point of Ness Camping and Caravan Site.
The work includes the provision of new hard standing for campervans and caravans, upgrading and enhancement of the toilet and shower block and upgrading the chemical waste disposal facilities.
The total cost of the Point of Ness improvement amounts to £357,000. OIC will add £97,000 which will come from the Crown Estate money Orkney now receives.
The Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) has awarded over £2.4m funding for 10 sites across Scotland. This is part of more than £5.8 million in recovery funding from the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG). It is to be spent improving infrastructure and creating jobs.
The Strategic Tourism Infrastructure Development Fund will support development plans created by councils in Orkney, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Dumfries and Galloway, Perth and Kinross, East Lothian, City of Edinburgh and the Highlands; as well as the Cairngorms National Park Authority, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
As part of this funding stream OIC has been awarded £35,000 to develop their tourism plans.
Commenting on the funding awards, leader of OIC, James Stockan said:
“The funding awarded to the Council for both initiatives will provide a welcome boost as our tourism sector recovers from the impact of the pandemic.
“Both will make an important contribution as we work alongside partner organisations on measures to encourage responsible, sustainable tourism for the benefit of our visitors and our local communities alike.
“We will consult widely on the development plan and will be encouraging views and ideas from organisations, groups and folk from across our islands.”
NatureScot’s Green Recovery Better Places Fund is helping communities to extend car parks; improve paths and accessibility; add more bins, toilets and signage; and to promote responsible behaviour while enjoying Scotland’s outdoors. The £3.1m fund has created more than 60 new jobs, including 47 new seasonal ranger posts to help manage sites and give visitors the best possible outdoors experience. Projects at 35 locations are already complete and a further 92 projects are currently underway preparing for the coming season.
The Scottish Government’s Tourism Minister Ivan McKee said:
“As many people choose to staycation this year, we are supporting our rural communities as much as possible to cope with the increased numbers looking to enjoy Scotland’s beautiful countryside.
“I’m delighted to see that through our funding and work with NatureScot and VisitScotland, as well as local communities across the country, we can ensure that we can welcome more visitors to our unique natural environment without damaging what makes it so special.
“Scotland has world-leading legislation giving people rights to access our countryside but it’s important that these are exercised responsibly and with respect for others, for wildlife and for the land itself. Investing in visitor management and supporting our rural communities is a crucial part of sustainable tourism growth.”
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said:
“The STERG tourism recovery funding is crucial in helping improve vital infrastructure and the overall visitor experience as part of responsible tourism work being undertaken by VisitScotland, NatureScot and our partners across the country.
“Over the last three years, the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund has played an important role in improving the visitor experience, be it car parking, toilets or footpaths, as we want people to have a must visit-must return experience, so I am delighted to see another 11 projects receiving funding.
“We all need to play our part in being responsible visitors and improvement works like these are crucial to ensuring our visitor destinations remain sustainable for years to come.
“Tourism is a force for good and if managed responsibly, sustains communities in every corner of Scotland, creates jobs, tackles depopulation and improves the wellbeing of everyone who experiences it.”