Councillors agree visitor management plan spending priorities

In the next few weeks, The Highland Council will publish a simple guide for individuals and communities who want to set up safe stopping off places for campervans – known on the continent as ‘aires’. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO_T30_West End camper vans
In the next few weeks, The Highland Council will publish a simple guide for individuals and communities who want to set up safe stopping off places for campervans – known on the continent as ‘aires’. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos NO_T30_West End camper vans

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The sum of £125,000 is to be spent on additional visitor management improvements in tourist hotspots such as in the Glencoe, Glen Etive, Arisaig, Morar and Mallaig areas.

The money is part of The Highland Council’s Visitor Management Plan for 2021, which will be adapted to provide a five-year plan for the future, and comes in addition to other sums being spent on issues such as parking and public toilets.

Councillors on the local authority’s tourism committee this week welcomed the wide range of 24 new infrastructure projects included in the plan across the region that will be ready for the new season.

The council said this week it will work with other agencies involved in tourism and visitor management to deliver the plan.

As well as the money previously mentioned, a number of other actions included in the plan which councillors have approved are some £280,000 on road management and improvements; £250,000 investment in parking management £300,000 for the provision of new seasonal access rangers; £60,000 spend on public toilets; £180,000 on waste management (bins, litter and fly-tipping) and £200,000 on enhancing bus services.

Also included in the list of projects is the provision of new public toilets, motorhome waste disposal and additional parking at Storr.

Councillors agreed that further opportunities for the delivery of new visitor management-related car park improvements are moved forward at pace as part of The Highland Council’s agreed process for car park charging roll-out.

These new opportunities will be discussed at ward business meetings recognising the benefits to The Highland Council and local areas.

Chairman of the Tourism Committee, Councillor Gordon Adam said: ‘Members are supportive of the delivery of the council’s Visitor Management Plan and the roll out of the car parking projects across the region.

‘Detailed proposals will be discussed at local level in ward business meetings so that we can move quickly to welcome visitors to the region when lockdown restrictions are eased and throughout the coming season.’

He added: ‘In the next few weeks, the council will publish a simple guide for individuals and communities who want to set up safe stopping off places for campervans – known on the continent as ‘aires’.

‘Councillors will also agree on how they should be branded. Officers are consulting with the Scottish Government so that small scale sites can be set up rapidly.’

In tandem with the Visitor Management Plan, the council is also developing a separate and complementary Tourism Infrastructure Plan which aims to identify the longer-term tourism infrastructure requirements of the region.

Members noted the work in progress on this plan and welcomed the 12 successful applications which received just over £2.5 million awards in rounds one and two of the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund for tourism projects across the region and a further six approved projects in the third round receiving £820,688 with one grant figure to be concluded.

CAPTION:

In the next few weeks, The Highland Council will publish a simple guide for individuals and communities who want to set up safe stopping off places for campervans – known on the continent as ‘aires’.
Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos

NO_T30_West End camper vans