Highlands and Islands to receive over 2 mil in European tourism boost

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Four projects across the Highlands and Islands will get a £2.6 million boost split between them from European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The award is to promote the outstanding scenery, wildlife and culture of the Highlands and Islands, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing, announced today.

The funding has been awarded through the Natural Cultural and Heritage Fund, led by NatureScot.

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The fund invests in projects in the Highlands and Islands which improve the experience of visitors exploring the region’s nature and culture, and support jobs in remote and rural areas.

NatureScot has approved funding for Archaeology Scotland to start their project for a heritage and tourism network in the Ardnamurchan peninsula.

Projects NatureScot also plan to fund include improved visitor infrastructure at sites on the Isle of Skye, new visitor facilities at the Highland Wildlife Park, and a circular historic route around Hermaness National Nature Reserve on Unst.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Our commitment to supporting our outstanding nature and vibrant culture in the Highlands and Islands is reflected in this latest £2.6 million European Regional Development Fund investment, which follows the £5 million funding awarded less than 18 months ago.

“We are dedicated to enhancing employment in our rural communities and developing further the experience for locals and visitors, who cherish these areas of spectacular natural interest and beauty.

“The range of projects underlines the diverse attractions we know will continue to drive job opportunities and increase visitor numbers.”

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The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, Scotland’s Wildlife Discovery Centre will receive £980,000.

For a new visitor facilities at the Highland Wildlife Park near Kincraig, to showcase the richness and diversity of native wildlife.

Archaeology Scotland, the Real Wild West, Adopt-a-Monument and the Ardnamurchan Peninsula will receive just over £300,000.

This will allow the Real Wild West project will develop a heritage and tourism network and strategy, as well as develop interpretation at important sites and locations, create a trail through west Ardnamurchan, and improve access, condition and maintenance of 10 heritage sites.

Outdoors Access Trust for Scotland, Skye’s Iconic Natural Heritage Sites has received £748,954 for the  promotion and marketing on the Isle of Skye.

Also to provide improvements at Skye’s Iconic Natural Heritage Sites including the Old Man of Storr and the Quiraing.

The project will develop infrastructure to help a wider and more diverse range of people access the sites and will provide a better visitor experience.

£541,718 will be injected into the Hermaness Hill Path and Welcome Area. NatureScot will install 1940m of recycled plastic boardwalk to reinstate the historic route to Muckle Flugga lighthouse signalling station at Hermaness National Nature Reserve on Unst in the Shetland Islands.

Creating a circular route around Hermaness National Nature Reserve, while protecting fragile blanket bog and rare nesting birds.

An innovative shelter will be installed at the reserve entrance, housing interpretation to accommodate an increasing number of visitors.