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New fund invites applications to enhance visitor experience in Scotland's rural areas

A new fund designed to help rural areas in Scotland invest in the quality of their tourism offering opens to applications today (30 March 2018).

Administered by VisitScotland, the Scottish Government Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund will support sustainable, well planned, inspiring and collaborative infrastructure projects to enable more visitors to enjoy Scotland’s rural communities.

Last month, Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop revealed three pilot projects on Skye and Orkney were to be among the first to benefit from support. The famous Fairy Pools and Neist Point on Skye and the Standing Stones of Stenness on Orkney have received up to £480,000 towards the completion of urgent works ahead of the main tourist season.

Now, local authorities or National Park authorities have been invited to submit applications on behalf of their communities for a share of the £6m fund, which was announced by the First Minister last year and will run for the next two years.

It follows the growing popularity of Scotland’s scenic areas, as well as increasing interest in film tourism, and successful initiatives like North Coast 500, which has led to an influx of visitors to some of the country’s more remote destinations.

In order to secure funding, successful applications must demonstrate the following:

• An enhanced visitor experience – through the provision of improved visitor facilities and infrastructure, particularly in areas that have experienced pressure from increased visitor numbers, leading to a positive impact on the local visitor economy.

• A sustainable approach –  take a strategic and long term approach to planning, use of materials, impact on the environment and legacy implications of the asset created after project completion.

• Community capacity building – creating more resilient communities, more able to cope with peak tourism demands and the creation of new local business opportunities.

• Effective partnerships and collaboration – engagement with local community groups, destination organisations and tourism businesses, demonstrating how partnership working can increase awareness, advocacy and the quality of the final project.

• Project viability and deliverability – provide a clear strategic rationale for their proposed activity as well as a delivery plan, timescales, details of experiences and a budget outline.

Documentation to explain the application process:

Criteria Conditions and Guidelines 

Expression of Interest Form

Application Form


The deadline for final applications is 27 July 2018. For a full list of criteria, conditions and guidelines to apply to the Scottish Government Rural Tourism Infrastructure fund, go to from 5pm today (30 March) or contact

Last Modified: Tuesday 03 April 2018 07:01
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