Issued by the Scottish Government
The Year of Natural Scotland has begun with the announcement of £2.9 million funding for projects across Scotland’s National Parks.
First Minister Alex Salmond told Parliament during First Minister’s Questions today that the extra funding will help boost the appeal of the parks as tourist destinations. Cairngorms National Park attracts 1.4 million visitors each year contributing £115 million to the local economy, while Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park attracts four million visitors each year, contributing £153 million to the local economy.
The First Minister said:
“Scotland’s National Parks - while vital to the protection of important habitats - are also hugely important to our rural economy. This extra cash – for shovel ready projects to enhance visitor facilities and support green tourism – will also create new employment opportunities, delivering a fresh stimulus to the local economy.
“In this Year of Natural Scotland, there is no better time to enjoy Scotland’s great outdoors. And last year, visitors from both home and abroad enjoyed our stunning National Parks. This extra investment will ensure they continue to thrive and attract even more visitors in the years to come.”
Cairngorms has received an additional £2.31 million while Loch Lomond and Trossachs has been given £580,000, for projects that will bring significant economic, environmental and tourism benefits. The funding is part of the £205 million capital investment package announced in December by Finance Secretary John Swinney.
At the Cairngorms National Park, the funding will support around 25 projects, including path improvement work in the Angus Glens, Glenlivet, Aviemore and Glemore. Improvements will also be made at the Nethy Bridge Ranger Base and Braemar Castle in Deeside, while funding has been committed to a new visitor centre at Laggan Wolf Trax.
Cairngorms National Park Convener Duncan Bryden said:
“We are delighted to have secured this money for ‘shovel ready’ projects across the Cairngorms National Park, which will bring about many benefits for communities and visitors alike. This news is all the more welcome as we approach our 10th anniversary and we reflect on what has been achieved in the last decade and what we still aim to do.
“Better recreational opportunities, better community facilities and projects that will preserve and enhance our cultural heritage are the winners this time round and I look forward to seeing these coming to fruition in 2013 and 2014, thanks to this additional funding.”
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority CEO Fiona Logan said:
“We welcome the additional funding from Scottish Government in the Year of Natural Scotland to support sustainable growth in our tourism economy and enhance the visitor experience of popular locations across Loch Lomond & The Trossachs. Our investments in piers and in East Loch Lomond have already reaped significant economic and environmental benefits supporting water bus services and attracting more visitors to enjoy these precious lochside areas in a sustainable way.
“This extra money will support new investment in visitor sites across the Trossachs and there will be further investment to public places and visitor signage in our towns and villages such as Callander. Funding will also be directed towards our improvement programme in 2013 for the West Highland Way and other strategic paths which attract thousands of people, including many international visitors to Scotland, each year.”