Gigha gets funding boost for happy campers

New camping facilities are being built near Gigha's ferry slipway in time for Spring 2022

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Work has started on  new motorhome hook-up points and tent pitches near Gigha’s ferry slipway in  time for Spring 2022.

As well as room for six motorhome hook up points, camping pitches and a waste disposal point there will also be a new fully accessible toilet and showering facility.

The build’s total value is £475,491 with £201,000 coming from Round Two of VisitScotland’s Rural Tourism and Infrastructure Fund, administered on behalf of The Scottish Government.

The initial contribution was £171,000 but was increased due to the challenges and delays caused by the pandemic.

Other match funders include Highlands & Islands Enterprise, Argyll and Bute Council and the Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust. Argyll and Bute’s visitor economy is worth over £440 million.

The Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust said is delighted to have secured the funding.

Gigha  has an accommodation shortage, which has a knock-on effect on the island’s tourist season, says Jane Millar who is the Development Manager for The Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust.

‘The number of visitors to Gigha has steadily risen from 2015 and during peak times we cannot accommodate all visitors. Therefore, the new facility will be welcomed by visitors who wish to spend more than a day on Gigha,’ she said.

The project will benefit island residents and local businesses by stopping indiscriminate parking and camping on the island, while offering visitors the comfort of a dedicated camping location.

The chosen site location also fits with Gigha’s wider strategy to reduce use of vehicles on the island by making it very accessible and within short distance from the ferry slip.

‘We look are looking forward to improving our visitors experience and supporting a sustainable approach towards tourism for our community. The Isle of Gigha camp and motorhome site is due to welcome its first visitors in Spring 2022,’ added Ms Millar.

‘Tourism is a vital industry to the people of Argyll and Bute supporting so many of our rural communities. As we help to support ongoing recovery, it’s fantastic that the rise in domestic tourism is having a positive impact of the local economy.

‘At the same time, we want to encourage responsible tourism and help provide appropriate amenities and facilities to cope with the increase in demand.

‘After a hugely challenging time for the industry, the RTIF funding in addition to the Council’s Staycation funding of £10,000 is welcomed.

‘The new facilities on Gigha are a real boost for the local economy delivering multiple benefits for both residents and visitors,’ said  Argyll and Bute Council leader Councillor Robin Currie.

David Adams McGilp, Regional Director, VisitScotland, said: ‘We’ll continue to work with, and support, businesses to ensure we rebuild this vital part of Argyll & Bute’s economy. I am delighted VisitScotland’s Rural Tourism and Infrastructure Fund is able to commit such a substantial investment to improving Gigha’s facilities and amenities.

‘Visitors can now enjoy the island’s stunning scenery and birdlife in more comfort, reducing the impact on the local community whilst supporting tourism jobs and businesses. Tourism is a force for good – creating economic and social value in Argyll and Bute and enhancing the well-being of everyone who experiences it.’