West Coast communities invest in safe re-opening for visitors

Community organisations on Highland’s West Coast are supporting the safe return of visitors to the region by upgrading a range of local tourism facilities.

West Coast communities invest in safe re-opening for visitors

Fourteen community-led tourism venues stretching from Gairloch in Wester Ross to Kilchoan on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, secured over £440,000 for capital projects from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The HIE Community-Led Tourism Infrastructure Fund is supporting the organisations to deliver a range of projects including building adaptations, improving outdoor visitor facilities, e-bike projects, and in Knoydart the development of accommodation pods to help social distancing for visiting workers and visitors.

Attractions carrying out work include: The Gale Centre, Fairy Pools, Kilchoan jetty, Glenfinnan, Knoydart, and the Isle of Skye Ferry.

Alastair Nicolson, HIE’s area manager for Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross, commented: “Community organisations deliver some fantastic tourism attractions and services locally, and we’re delighted to have been able to support these capital investments. Upgrading facilities and introducing post-Covid measures will help build confidence and ensure our communities can safely welcome back both staff and visitors.”

Davie Ferguson is chair of the West Ardnamurchan Community Development Company which secured £40,000 towards the refurbishment of the Kilchoan Jetty. He commented: “For a remote coastal community like ours, the jetty is a key asset for marine tourism as well as having a historic role in the development of the village during the last century. The jetty had suffered storm damage over the years and was not stable or safe and so it was a key project for the West Ardnamurchan Community Development Company, especially as the region begins to welcome back visitors.

“The Development Company is very grateful for the financial support received from the Community Led Tourism Infrastructure Fund, which has allowed us to refurbish the jetty and replace the visitor moorings in the bay so we can offer a much enhanced experience to visitors either arriving by sea or using the jetty as part of their holiday for kayaking and other activities.”

The Knoydart Foundation has accessed £84,000 to help them build three self-contained chalets. These are being used as safe accommodation for people working on Knoydart and/or visitor accommodation according to availability.

Craig Dunn, operations manager at the Foundation, added: “This development helps us adapt our offering, providing flexibility and the ability to respond to the needs of visitors and locals alike.”

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