The funding will enable the Wester Ross Biosphere (WRB) to adequately support the Wester Ross Tourism Partnership in delivering a destination management plan (DMP) for the area.
Three new jobs will be created to support the DMP and associated projects, such as litter and waste management, visitor information and infrastructure.
Confirming the HIE approval, Alaistar Nicolson, HIE’s head of strengthening communities in Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross, said:
“Tourism is central to the local economy in Wester Ross and a vital source of rural employment and community resilience.
“Wester Ross Biosphere provides valuable co-ordinated support for the sector, tailored to the specific needs of communities and tourism operators in the area. Its destination management plan identifies area priorities for the sector’s recovery.
“We need to make sure the group has sufficient resources to be as effective as possible in delivering against these priorities, and that’s what this funding award is about.
“We look forward to working with WRB and the Wester Ross tourism sector to achieve a successful and sustainable recovery.”
The Wester Ross Biosphere was designated by UNESCO in 2016 for its outstanding natural and cultural heritage. It covers Wester Ross and Lochalsh and is home to about 8,000 people; a fraction of the estimated 450,000 visitors it receives each year.
It is unique in the global network of Biospheres in that it is entirely community-led. This ensures that communities lead on finding the balance between protecting the area’s cultural and natural assets, while supporting sustainable development initiatives.