The constituency MSP for Skye has welcomed new funding which will help resolve tourism infrastructure pressures at some of the most popular hotspots on the island.
Earlier today (26 February) it was announced that the Fairy Pools and the Quirang, both considered to be iconic attractions, will receive funding that will go towards improving car parking provision before the peak summer tourist season.
The Quirang will receive £100,000 from the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate, and the Fairy Pools £200,000 from LEADER. A new car park will be created for the Quirang, 5km west of Staffin on the Trotternish peninsula, which will have 60 spaces and several additional places for small coaches and motorhomes.
Last summer vehicles were parked on verges and, in some cases, on croft land, as the roads struggled to cope with the high influx of visitors.
At the Fairy Pools, which receives well in excess of 100,000 visitors-a-year, there are plans to expand the existing 35-space car park to accommodate over 100 cars and approximately 20 mini-buses and campervans. Again, there were lengthy tailbacks and parking issues at the site last year.
The news was welcomed by Kate Forbes MSP, who last year hosted a successful visit to the island from Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism.
The Skye MSP also organised and led two well-attended tourism summits with local businesses, community groups and tourism organisations, which looked at tourism-related problems and potential solutions.
Speaking today (26 February), Kate Forbes MSP said: "This is a significant step forward for Skye.
"After many meetings and announcements, I am pleased that we are finally seeing tangible funding to improve parking at the Fairy Pools and the Quirang.
"I know that warm words and sympathy actually achieve nothing on the ground, but cold, hard cash will develop additional parking, improve the visitor experience and make it easier for locals.
"Last summer, local people raised their frustrations with me about the infrastructure on the island.
"I have worked hard to try and secure funding, support and plans for Skye's future, and the Rural Tourist Infrastructure Fund was the result of that effort.
"This was followed by the Cabinet Secretary's visit to Skye and the launch of the task force.
"We are finally seeing the results of the hard work by local community members, government officials and others who have been working behind the scenes to release funding to various sites in Skye which found the numbers of tourists particularly challenging.
"I am hopeful that this is not the last release of funding for tourist sites in Skye either, and I will continue to lobby on behalf of Skye locals to ensure there is additional funding to complete the Fairy Pools projects and to invest in other sites on Skye."