What is the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund?
The Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) was established by the Scottish Government and the Fund is managed by VisitScotland on its behalf. To date, £18 million of grant funding has been awarded to 74 projects across rural Scotland, since the start of the Fund in 2018.
RTIF is designed to support collaborative projects which focus on improving the visitor experience in rural parts of Scotland that are facing pressure on their infrastructure and communities as a result of visitor numbers.
To enable a more strategic approach to visitor infrastructure development and greater alignment with the objectives of Scotland Outlook 2030 and the new National Strategy for Economic Development, RTIF has supported the development of 24 Strategic Tourism Infrastructure Development Plans in rural areas across Scotland. The Strategic Infrastructure Plans will inform the priorities for RTIF over the next three to five years.
Who can apply?
Only Local Authorities and National Park Authorities can apply for funding. However, Community Groups and other agencies can apply to their Local Authority or National Park if they have an eligible project. Individual businesses are not eligible for RTIF.
What can be supported?
The types of project that could be supported include parking, motorhome facilities (including disposal points), viewpoints, paths, toilet provision and EV and e-bike charge points.
An existing or anticipated visitor pressure point - As a result of previous or anticipated increases in visitor numbers, there is a visitor and or community pressure point which is likely to continue and needs to be addressed. The applicant should provide evidence of the increase in visitor numbers or anticipated impact of visitor numbers and / or evidence of the impact of visitors on the local area.
That a strategic need is met or gap is addressed by the actions proposed - Priority will be given to early actions identified by the Strategic Tourism Infrastructure Development Plans or other strategic plans by Local Authorities, the National Parks, NatureScot or Forestry & Land Scotland. Applicants should provide a strategic content for the project and evidence to support this.
Provision of a quality visitor experience - Provision of high quality visitor facilities and infrastructure, leading to a positive impact on the local landscape and visitor economy is a key criteria for RTIF support. Applicants should demonstrate the commitment to place principles and a quality design which can accommodate visitors with a wide variety of access needs and complies with and where possible exceeds the requirements of the Equality Act.
A responsible tourism approach - Applicants are expected to take a responsible tourism approach to the planning, design, build and management of the infrastructure provision addressing the issues generated as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
A carbon conscious approach - Applications should provide details on how their project will contribute to the reduction / mitigation of climate change and support the transition to a low carbon society i.e. using low carbon materials, energy efficiency, promotion of low carbon transport, renewable energy and waste management in construction and maintenance of the facilities. Applicants should demonstrate their commitment to carbon consciousness where a location reuses, repurposes and considers whole life costs, retrofitting existing structures and considering the embodied carbon in place.
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 - Applicants must provide evidence of 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 - applicants must provide evidence of:
- Proven experience of project management and financial administration
- A clear timetable for permissions, procurement, site start date and expected time of completion
- A clear delivery plan demonstrating value for money and measurable outputs
- Detailed costs and a budget forecast for the period of the project
If you have any further queries, please email [email protected].
Information about approved projects from each round can be found on this page:
Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund - Round Five
RTIF Round Five Approved Projects
Argyll & Bute Council. £332,334. Forestry and Land Scotland will take forward the project in two phases, with the first phase encompassing three car park developments from Bridge of Orchy through the Glen Lochy area, which will have the greatest impact on managing campervan and car oversubscription. The goal of these projects is to significantly ease parking issues in Glen Orchy, Glen Lochy and Bridge of Orchy as well as improving the quality of the visitor experience for these existing users. The project will deliver increased car and motorhome parking, waste disposal facilities at two sites and 2.5km of path improvements linking the car parks to the surrounding area.
Argyll & Bute Council. £477,270. This project aims to upgrade the existing visitor infrastructure on the Isle of Staffa in order to improve the visitor experience by reducing overcrowding and increasing visitor safety. The project will enable National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and partners to sustainably welcome growing visitor numbers to Staffa, providing a world class visitor experience and protecting the unique landscape and wildlife visitors come to experience. The project consists of the development of an upgraded and significantly larger boat landing jetty which will provide additional space for seating, a waiting area and improve visitor flow.
City of Edinburgh Council. £207, 886. This project will develop and build accessible to all path links to Bonaly Country Park. These have been identified as part of the Strategic Tourism Infrastructure Development Plan (STID) Pentland Hills Sustainable Access project which seeks to reduce cark parking requirements in the long term by providing accessible non vehicle links to the park. The project will also formalise the existing car parking space, improve traffic flow, create and install new signage, install new cycle racks, a public bike pump and repair station and build two new Natsol toilets.
Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar. £85,553. There are currently no motorhome sites around the main village or ferry port at Tarbert which leads to informal camping, in readiness for early morning sailings. It's hoped that provision of a new site, within walking distance of the ferry terminal, will deter visiting vans away from the unofficial stopping spots that are emerging and provide a better experience for the visitor and the local community. This project will develop six overnight motorhome bays with electric hookups and grey water disposal point just outside Tarbert to help deal with the increase in campervans and motorhomes arriving on the island.
Highland Council. £500,000. The Highland Council and Assynt Development Trust have a joint aim to redevelop and expand the Achmelvich beach car park and replace the current public toilets unit with a larger unit which incorporates toilet and shower facilities and modest space for tourist interpretation / education / good practice resources. The project was granted planning permission in November 2021, following an earlier RTIF-funded design phase. The project will provide:
- One new toilet facility with up to six WCs, one disabled access, baby changing (increase of five from existing unit)
- One shower facility
- 38 additional paring spaces on top of reinstatement in durable surfacing of 40 existing spaces
Highland Council. £350,000. This new low-level active travel route will follow the A82 from Glencoe village into Glencoe National Nature Reserve and will directly connect with the popular National Cycle Network route 78 – the Caledonia Way. Project comprises of two elements: a new path to fix the missing link of 2km from Glencoe Visitor Centre to Signal Rock and a 2km upgrade to the existing path from A82 Glencoe Village to Glencoe Visitor Centre.
Highland Council. £243,218. Through the council’s Visitor Management Plan some small-scale improvements to public toilets and additional “Highland Comfort Scheme” provision along the North Coast 500 were undertaken in 2021. However, four of these council-managed sites in the North West of Sutherland are all older facilities that were considered to require further significant upgrades. This project aims to improve the facilities and accessibility at four sites – Lochinver, Scourie, Rhiconich and Kinlochbervie.
Highland Council. £440,859. The rapid rise in visitor numbers to the area over the last few years has had significant impacts on the everyday lives of local residents. This impact is not always compensated for by the benefits that tourism brings. The road infrastructure and visitor facilities at Stac Pollaidh have been stretched to breaking point, severely disrupting access to homes and businesses in the area, causing damage to roads and paths, and resulting in a poor visitor experience which reflects badly on Coigach and Assynt in general. The project will provide an 80-space car park and a public toilet with off grid processing tank.
Renfrewshire Council. £169,165. This project will help manage visitor pressure at the RSPB Lochwinnoch Nature Reserve which is resulting in disturbance and damage to wildlife as a result of unmanaged access to sensitive parts of the site by visitors. The project will achieve this by creating a new boardwalk along a carefully designed route, with screening, which will ensure disturbance and damage to wildlife is reduced. It will also enable better management of visitor access, both with current numbers and anticipated increased numbers in the future. This accessible boardwalk will greatly enhance the visitor experience, by linking key wildlife and historic features and opening up a new section of the site to visitors, including those with specific access needs.
Stirling Council. £231,000. The final stage of the previously supported Round 3 Trossachs Visitor Management Project, features a high-quality landmark viewpoint at the busy Trossachs Pier visitor hub. This project involves the construction of a three-level scenic tower with boardwalk and bridge links to two new scenic lookouts at the historic Roderick Dhu Tower Viewpoint overlooking Loch Katrine, immediately above Trossachs Pier. The viewpoint will provide a more accessible vantage point overlooking the Loch for those unable to climb the surrounding mountains and help with the management of visitors around the Trossachs Pier site.
RTIF Round Four Approved Projects
Stirling Council. £286,821. Building upon the initial investment and RTIF funding of the ‘Doune Tourism Development’ Projects this phase will focus on the development of wider travel infrastructure including a new Travel Hub for private vehicle, mini-bus and bicycle spaces with associated electrical vehicle and cycle charging points, paths and signage linking the proposed Travel Hub with other key attractions. The project will deliver approximately 42 parking spaces in total for cars, accessible parking spaces (four), motorhomes /minibuses (five), motorbikes, cycles* and Electrical Vehicle charging point spaces (four)*. The project will also deliver new car park lighting, approximately 265 metres of new pathways and associated signage and wayfinding to enhance connectivity to the village and local visitor attractions and businesses.
Highland Council and Kilmuir Community Trust. £133,875. This project will develop visitor facilities at Kilmuir Village Hall, in north Skye to provide two electric vehicle charging points, eight new parking spaces CWD, and publicly accessible toilets and recycling bins. The project proposes to install PV panels to help generate electricity for the project, whilst reducing the potential carbon impact.
Moray Council. £346,065. A multi-partner and location approach to create a network of facilities across the region that will contribute to tourism and relieve pressure on local beauty spots including:
1. New motorhome overnight facility in Cullen and motorhome parking at Ballindalloch and Craigellachie
2. Upgrade and reopening of toilets in Findhorn and Ballindalloch
3. New carpark with footpath to the iconic Bow Fiddle Rock, Portknockie
4. Carpark enhancements at Ben Rinnes, Ballindalloch, Hopeman and Craigellachie
Highland Council, Isle of Canna Community Development Trust / NTS. £230,000.
This project will see the construction of a 68 m² building close to Canna Pier and harbour to provide fully accessible modern welfare facilities for the 10,000 - 15,000 annual visitors to Canna.
The building will incorporate toilets, showers and a small laundry. It would also function as a reception and orientation point and a base for the NTS Ranger to allow them to meet passengers off the ferry and give directions, information and guidance on wildlife, sites and facilities.
Argyll and Bute Council and South Islay Development. £302,990. This will be phase one of the development of the Port Ellen playing fields site. This project will increase motorhome electric hook up site capacity from four to 12 (an increase of eight spaces) to satisfy growing demand and entail an upgrade to the disposal site capability for chemical, black and greywaste. In addition, a new shower, toilet and laundry facility will be provided, alongside much-needed recycling facilities.
Perth & Kinross Council and Scottish Canoe Association. £375,000. The Grandtully Visitor Management Project aims to tackle the severe visitor management pressures that have been experienced on the River Tay in the last few years by:
- Additional 40 car park spaces with 17 toilets and showers including six accessible toilets and a ‘changing places’ facility
- Provision of new changing rooms and showers
- Improved visitor information on-arrival for visitors with interpretation signage and picnic area
- Improving and increasing camping facilities for those staying onsite increasing tent pitch capacity in the area and assist in the reduction of inappropriate / illegal camping
- Installation of six EV plus e-bike charging points, a bike shelter, bike wash and maintenance point for visitors
Highland Council and Gairloch Area Development Ltd. £147,364. This project will create a provision of new multi-purpose toilets and a motorhome servicing facility at the main Beach Car Park in Gairloch to cater for the increasing numbers of visitors to Gairloch and users of motorhomes travelling the North Coast 500 driving route.
West Lothian Council. £167,707. West Lothian Council plan to take pressure off the increasing numbers using the Beecraigs Visitor Centre by increasing provision at Balvormie toilets to include six toilets and one unisex accessible toilet and to refurbish a currently derelict building within the park to provide two new unisex toilets and one accessible toilet.
Highland Council and Camuscross & Duisdale Initiative. £111,020. This project will provide five motorhome bays and service point at the An Crùbh the community owned Hub at Duisdale, Sleat, Skye. This will include hook-ups, water and CWD facilities which will complement exisitng provision at the centre of a shop, café, existing electric vehicle charging points, toilets and showers and full disabled access.
Highland Council and FLS. £228,200. Visitor numbers have been steadily increasing in Glen Affric, increasing the pressure on the existing facilities with projected continued increase in visitor pressure due to a rise in staycations and motorhome touring. This project will increase the capacity of Dog Falls car park for larger vehicles, replace the aging and inefficent composting toilet, create a new section of path taking visiors off road and restore and upgrade the Dog Falls Bridge. The project will include the provision of cycle infrastructure and four e-bike charge points.
Aberdeenshire Council. £268,057. A partnership project between Aberdeenshire Council and NatureScot to upgrade and expand the car parking at St Cyrus National Nature Reserve to provide an additional 40 parking spaces for cars and motorhomes to cope with increased visitor numbers at the site. The project includes refurbishment of the toilets to include a changing places standard toilet, and provision of additional cycling racks, EV charge points and a chemical disposal point.
Fife Council. £375,000. Partnership project between Fife Council and Fife Countryside Trust to provide a network of parking, toilets, interpretative and renewable energy points for EV and EB charging serving the Fife Coastal path, the Pilgrims Way and Fife 191 driving route. The project will deliver new facilities in locations such as Elie, Pittenweem, Kinghorn, Craigmead and Glenvale.
East Lothian Council. £172,830. Project by East Lothian Council to provide enhanced toilets and showering facilities at the popular Gullane Bents with a fully accessible changing places toilet improving access to the site for all. East Lothian Council aim to encourage low carbon transport access to the site with emphasis on cycling and public transport.
Aberdeenshire Council. £278,122. Replacement of the current toilets owned by Aberdeenshire Council at Glenshee with new, fully accessible toilet facilities and showers with 24 hour / 365 days access for walkers, climbers and visitors on the Snow Roads Scenic Route and a gateway to Royal Deeside. The project will also provide a grey and wastewater disposal point for motorhomes, new cycle facilities and an EB charge point.
Perth & Kinross Council. £302,864. A partnership project between Perth & Kinross Council and RSPB Scotland at the RSPB Reserve at Loch Leven. The Reserve has become a hub for the Loch Leven Heritage Trail and the Sleeping Giant Path which connects the Reserve with Lochore Meadows Country Park resulting in visitors number increasing from 50,000 to 200,000 per annum. The project will enlarge the car park to create an additional 100 car parking spaces, provide six twin EV charging points, and new toilets including a changing places facility.
Highland Council. £192,000. A partnership project between Highland Council and the Arnamurchan Lighthouse Trust to improve provision of the external free to access parts of the site in this remote peninsula. Works include improved car parking, paths, walkways and the creation of new viewpoints. The project will improve access and egress from the site and address safety concerns from the increasing numbers of visitors.
Aberdeenshire Council. £154,701. Phase One of a partnership project between Aberdeenshire Council and Newburgh and Ythan Community Trust SCIO to upgrade and increase the capacity of the car park at Newburgh Links which is part of the National Nature Reserve covering the Ythan Estuary which has attracted increasing numbers of visitors to watch the seal colony established at the Links.
Highland Council. £105,345. Phase Two proposal by Highland Council and Assynt Development Trust which will see the completion of the motorhome provision and waste disposal unit at this key location on the NC500.
Highland Council. £207,456. New public toilets, realigned parking bays, 480m path linking the village to the parking and one waste disposal facility in a village which is popular with visitors and an increasing number of boat trips.
Perth & Kinross Council. £235,737. New toilet facilities at Aberfeldy to service the walking and cycling users on the River Tay Way from Perth to Kenmore and waste disposal facilities for the motorhome sector.
Highland Council. £340,000. Provision of new toilet facilities at Falls of Foyers within a low carbon, sustainable building that will replace a condemned toilet block and updated toilet facility and waste disposal facility at Invermoriston.
Orkney Islands Council. £260,000. Infrastructure improvements at the Point of Ness Camping and Caravan Site to relieve ongoing visitor pressure. Includes the provision of new hard standing for campervans and caravans, upgrading and enhancement of the toilet and shower block and upgrading the chemical waste disposal facilities.
Clackmannanshire Council. £139,268. Proposal to relieve the visitor parking pressure at Dumyat access points by moving the access point to Menstrie, including upgrading and expanding of car park at Dumyat Community Centre, provision of tourist information on trails, motorhome service point and EV points.
Aberdeenshire Council. £375,000. Changing places toilet and parking provision at Aden Country Park as a result of increased visitor numbers. Increased power supply to the site will enable 8 EV charge points to be installed.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority. £375,000. A partnership project between the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park, SS Sir Walter Scott Trust and Forestry and Land Scotland. The project will address a number of the issues seen over the past few years with increasing visitor pressure in the Trossachs. Activity will include additional motorhome, car parking and cyclist provision at Trossachs Pier, Ben A'an and Stronachlachar. Provision of new toilet facilities at Trossachs Pier and improved signage and orientation provision to manage visitors through the Trossachs.
Highland Council. £151,343. Phase Two of the Highland Council led Storr mountain footpath restoration project which would take visitors from the recently completed path work under Round Two of RTIF, up between the Old Man and the Needle to the junction of the Necklace path and then on to the Photographers Knoll paths. This will complete the package of works including the soon to be completed toilets funded under Round One of RTIF and the new car park.
Highland Council. £321,750. A partnership project between Highland Council and the National Trust for Scotland. This project aims to address increasing visitor pressures in Glencoe through provision of an overarching plan for an improved visitor infrastructure along the A82. The project will improve car parking provision at the Three Sisters, paths and address visitor management issues with upgraded public toilets at Glencoe village.
Highland Council. £185,750. A partnership project between Highland Council and the National Trust for Scotland. This project aims to address increasing visitor pressures in Glen Etive through provision of an overarching plan for an improved visitor infrastructure along the A82. The project will improve car parking provision, signage and address visitor management issues.
Shetland Islands Council. £375,000. A partnership project between Shetland Islands Council and the Scalloway Community Development Company to plug a key gap in local provision of facilities for camping, caravans and motorhomes in Shetland, and meet the growing demand for motorhome facilities. The development will include provision for 10 motorhome/caravan overnight bays with toilets and shower facilities, waste disposal and recycling points.
Highland Council. £160,000. Development of an eight bay campervan site service point at Sabhal Mor Ostaig with CWD, toilet and shower to support the development of a network of motorhome facilities on Skye.
City of Edinburgh Council. £298,861. This project aims to make improvements to Harlaw Car Park in the Pentland Hills Regional Park. It will deliver improvements to access, paths and provide up to 33 new spaces and two zero discharge toilets.
City of Edinburgh Council. £265,873. This project aims to make improvements to the Flotterstone and Threipmuir Car Parks in the Pentland Hills Regional Park. It will deliver improvements to access, paths and provide up to 53 new car parking spaces, seven accessible car park spaces, bike repair facilities, and two zero discharge toilets.
Approved projects, subject to conditions
Argyll & Bute Council. £375,000. Additional 100 car parking spaces, 8 coach spaces and 30 campervan spaces at Ledaig Car Park, Tobermory to cope with increased traffic to Mull.
Moray Council. £80,500. Provision of 34 new car and two coach parking spaces, toilets and seating area to address parking and infrastructure issues as a result of increased visitor numbers to the Abbey.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority. £136,000. Infrastructure improvement to Balmaha Visitor Centre to enhance the quantity and quality of the toilet and litter provision to alleviate the tourism volume pressure on East Loch Lomond at Balmaha and Milarrochy Bay.
Argyll & Bute Council. £201,000. Provision of motorhome and camping facilities adjacent to the Gigha ferry terminal with recycling and waste facilities for motorhome users, toilets, showers and laundry facilities for visitors.
Highland Council. £273,628. Addressing capacity and services provided in Eigg’s only visitor facilities at the pier centre creating four new toilets and showers, interpretation and signage.
Highland Council. £300,000. Expansion parking area and provision of motorhome facilities to cope with visitor demand at Portree. The project will create an extended hardstanding area in west Bayfield carpark, providing more parking spaces, day parking for motorhomes with waste and water facilities.
Stirling Council. £286,362. A partnership between Historic Environment Scotland, Stirling Council and the local community to address issues arising from the growth in visitor numbers at Doune Castle. Includes refurbishment of the village toilets, extensions to the path network between the Castle and village, signage and interpretation.
Argyll & Bute Council. £214,659. This project will provide additional parking, motorhome hard standings, electric hook ups and waste disposal facilities to reduce visitor pressure at Ulva Ferry on Mull.
Highland Council. £57,456. Final phase of the Glenfinnan Viaduct project to create a footbridge and new path to link the new car park supported on Round 1 of the RTIF to the existing path to the viaduct preventing the need to walk up the main trunk road for access.
Highland Council. £184,506. There has been a significant increase in visitor numbers on the footpath to the Old Man of Storr on Skye. Highland Council will enhance visitor access while protecting iconic landscapes and internationally important habitats.
East Lothian Council. £240,000. The refurbishment of 3 toilet facilities at Longniddry Bents in East Lothian which has more than 600,000 visitors every year. The improvements planned include the installation of a fully accessible Changing Places toilet, outdoor showers and tourist information provision.
Highland Council. £300,000. Address the needs of increased visitor numbers and improve the visitor experience to Glen Nevis with a clear vehicle access strategy, installing public transport access facilities, parking, signage, paths and toilet facilities at Lower Steall Falls Car Park.
Highland Council. £299,000. There has been a 30% growth in the traffic on the Nigg-Cromarty Ferry. Highland Council and Cromarty Community Development Trust aim to provide campervan facilities including hard standing, waste disposal and toilets along with improved slipways for the Cromarty-Nigg ferry.
Shetland Council, £286,300. Address the erosion of peat caused by an increasing number of visitors to Britain’s most northerly NNR by making accessible the ‘Lighthouse Path’ heritage route to Hermaness Hill with several sections of recycled plastic board walk, extending the boardwalk to the coast and improving the overall visitor experience through improved parking, toilets and interpretation at the carpark and at key points across the reserve.
Highland Council. £73,757. Redevelopment of the current public conveniences and showers by the local community.
Argyll & Bute Council. £54,217. Upgrade to the Columba Centre car park at Fionnphort to provide space for campervans and dedicated disabled parking.
Dumfries & Galloway Council. £225,000. Works include 1.3 km summit path to create a sustainable, durable and accessible route with improvements to the car park, signage and interpretation.
Scottish Borders Council. £93,403. The project will deliver 4km of upland path improvements to improve the quality of the visitor experience and prevent erosion at this popular site.
Argyll & Bute Council. £300,000. An accessible all abilities pathway to link the accommodation and tourism businesses in Port Charlotte with the Bruichladdich businesses and Distillery and provide a safe route for non-vehicle traffic.
Highland Council. £293,124. New toilet and motorhome facilities at Storr to support walkers, cars, coaches and cyclists which will complement the car parking development already underway.
Highland Council. £129,325. Five enhanced viewpoints on the 11.5m stretch of the Lochcarron – Bealach na Ba road between Tornapress and Applecross with parking spaces for motorhomes.
Highland Council. £300,000. New toilet and motorhome service facilities at Mallaig and the refurbishment of the existing but disused toilets at Traigh Beach with improved signage and information.
Highland Council. £64,997. Green toilet facilities in a popular climbing and visitor site with improved and extended car parking, signage and information provision.
Shetland Islands Council. £131,660. Parking hub to reduce the pressure from visitors and cruise coaches in the small village of Hoswick and improve the visitor experience and reduce pressure on the community.
Cairngorms National Park.£60,000. Improvements to the car parking and toilet facilities and provide waste disposal facilities to address demand and prevent roadside parking.
Cairngorms National Park. £184,098. A new 1.1km path, linking four car parks, visitor attractions and accommodation will improve safety and access in a key visitor hotspot in the Cairngorms.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. £230,000. A multi partner project to develop an Island wide network of facilities and infrastructure to improve the visitor experience including car parks, campervan service points, electrical hook up points and signage.
Highland Council. £52,050. Provision waste disposal and fresh water supply facility for motorhomes/campervans in Lochinver.
Highland Council. £269,382. Additional parking to cater for 100 cars and 10 motorhomes/buses in Glenfinnan attracted by the Harry Potter films to the viaduct and the steam train.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority. £281,000. Package of improvements to relieve visitor pressure at Luss and 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.
Dumfries & Galloway Council. £58,000. Refurbished toilets and improved access to the water’s edge. Recycling and disposal waste system at Clatteringshaws for visitors and mobile home users.