The council leader has welcomed news that just over £500,000 of funding has been allocated to Argyll and Bute for three projects supporting the growing tourism sector.
Councillor Aileen Morton said: “I’m delighted to see that projects on three of our islands – Mull, Islay and Tiree – have been allocated money through the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund.
“In Argyll and Bute we have experienced a growth in tourism that far outstrips the national average. We welcome this growth - it stimulates our economy, creates jobs and attracts new people to the area to live and work as well as visit. But we also welcome assistance to improve infrastructure that will make the large, seasonal increase in population a better experience for visitors and our year-long residents. This is a fund that has been created to alleviate some of the pressure that the rapid increase in Scottish tourism has put on local infrastructure.
“While the council acted as the applicant, we would like to thank the community organisations involved for the time and resources they put into developing the applications. This is a great example of how council and communities work together to create sustainable local development.”
The projects that have been allocated funding are:
- Fionnphort and Craignure Car Park Improvements – awarded£106,005 to upgrade Columba Centre car park at Fionnphort to provide space for campervans and dedicated disabled parking and provide 40 new spaces at Craignure car park.
- Bruichladdich - Port Charlotte Pathway - awarded (subject to conditions) £300,000 to provide a pathway, accessible for all - to link the accommodation and tourism businesses in Port Charlotte with the Bruichladdich businesses and Distillery to provide a safe route for non-vehicle traffic.
- Tiree Turf and Surf – awarded £131,366 (subject to conditions) to provide an additional 95 car parking spaces, better access links between parking areas and beaches and signage to accommodate the increase in visitor numbers and protect the machair landscape.
The council also welcomed news of £260,000 for a project, applied for by Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, which will bring a package of improvements to relieve visitor pressure at Luss. It will redirect toilet stop traffic to locations further up the west of Loch Lomond at Tarbet and Inveruglas as well as improvements to the toilets at Luss to increase accessibility.
The £6m fund is directed specifically at rural areas across Scotland and excludes towns and larger villages. Applications must be submitted by a local authority or a National Park, but they must demonstrate a collaborative approach with the community and tourism groups.
Awards of between £50,000 and £300,000 are available and funding of up to 70% can be given. Applicants must provide some form of match or in kind funding, from public or private sector or community groups.
There is a second round of funding which has a deadline of October 2018 for expressions of interest. This is a Scottish Government fund administered by VisitScotland.