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£36M INVESTMENT IN HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS TOURISM

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Minister for tourism, Alasdair Morrison, today launched two initiatives enabling tourism businesses across the High...
Minister for tourism, Alasdair Morrison, today launched two initiatives enabling tourism businesses across the Highlands and Islands to access£36m of funding to improve their visitor facilities.

'HIE Activity and HIE Standards' initiatives are jointly funded by the public sector (£12m) through Highlands and Islands Enterprise, European Funding from the Highlands and Islands Special Transitional Programme and the private sector (£24m). They are focused on accommodation providers and those businesses specialising in activity and special interest holidays.

Launching the schemes in Inverness today, Alasdair Morrison said:

'These schemes are an excellent example of the public and private sectors working together for the benefit of the tourism industry. The Highlands and Islands cannot rely on its natural assets alone it must be able to compete as a high quality destination.

'Together the tourism industry and the public sector in the Highlands and Islands are showing real commitment to improving quality standards and investing in the future to provide the high quality experience that our visitors deserve.

'I am delighted that the Highlands and Islands are leading the way with this example of the partnership working that is essential to the recovery of the tourist industry.

'Last week, I announced an additional£7m funding package for VisitScotland bringing their marketing budget to a record level. With this additional funding VisitScotland will be mounting vigorous marketing campaigns that will encourage many more visitors from Scotland and around the world to take their holidays in Scotland, including, of course, the Highlands and Islands.'

BACKGROUND

'HIE ACTIVITY' will assist businesses providing a wide range of activity and special interest holidays to provide higher quality buildings and equipment. 'HIE STANDARDS 3' will enable tourist accommodation providers to extend and improve the quality of their facilities.

The schemes are funded jointly by Highlands and Islands Enterprise European funding from the Highlands and Islands Special Transitional Programme and the private sector and will be delivered through the network of Local Enterprise Companies. The schemes provide grants to eligible tourism businesses across the Highlands and Islands.

Annual tourism spend in the Highlands and Islands is in excess of£500m. 20,000 Highlands and Islands jobs are in tourism.

VisitScotland's budget is£37.5m.

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