Two top tourist sites on the Isle of Skye are set for improvements this year.
The Skye Local Area Partnership has agree to commit £200K of Highland LEADER funding towards the first phase of improvement works at the Fairy Pools and £100k from the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate (SGRPID) will be used for a project of parking and road improvement works at the Quiraing.
These amounts are in addition to the £100K the Highland Council is contributing to the Fairy Pools project and £90K at the Quiraing site.
In early 2015 the council established a project group for the Fairy Pools, the core members of this group being the council, Forestry Commission Scotland, representatives from the Glenn Brittle residents, Minginish Community Council and Minginish Community Hall Association (MCHA).
The council has coordinated and chaired this group throughout. In addition to the £100k that the council has committed to the car park construction, the council has also spent in excess of £50k towards the cost of the options appraisal, topographical survey, feasibility study, design stage, project officer post for MCHA and path improvements.
At the Quiraing the local councillors and officers have been working in partnership with the local SGRPID office since 2016 to address visitor management issues at the site. This partnership approach to deliver a £190k will provide a significant improvement to parking issues at the site which attracts thousands of visitors throughout the year.
Local members are delighted that all the hard work is starting to deliver projects that will greatly improve infrastructure at two of the main pinch points on Skye for the benefit of locals and visitors and alike and are keen to point out that these success stories show how working in partnership with the community and other agencies can provide positive outcomes.
Councillor John Finlayson said: ‘The positive outcomes that have been achieved are due largely to the proactive and collaborative approaches of all involved, which clearly show that if agencies work together in an open and transparent manner and have shared goals that benefit both the immediate local and also the wider Skye communities, successful outcomes will always be achieved.’
Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: ‘When I visited Skye last November, I met local groups to hear first-hand about the challenges caused by the increasing visitor numbers to the iconic tourist sites that the island has to offer.
‘Therefore I welcome this latest development, with public funding confirmed to support the improvement works at the Fairy Pools and Quiraing to proceed.
‘Our plans for a new Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund will be set out imminently. The Scottish Government is determined to take action where needed, in partnership with local communities, to ensure growth in tourism is sustainable.’