Tourism in Scotland has soared this year with massive increases in overall numbers and in spending. The UK has seen an 18% increase in spending by tourists while, in Scotland, it has risen by an impressive 27%. The weak pound has often been given the credit, but I feel sure that the intrinsic experience has been improved, Outlander and other Media phenomena and a sense of safety from terrorism have been big contributors too. See these recent pieces:
Inspired perhaps by the general trend but also, coincidentally, opportune for the alleged increased interest in Gaelic triggered by Outlander, a new marina hub has been completed in Harris. This is the final link in a chain of marine facilities along the coast of the Outer Hebrides. The new Harris facilities will take up to 90 vessels and bring major economic benefits to the area in terms of jobs and spending.
According to the Scottish Business News Network, funding of £220 000 comes from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) toward the total cost of £1.3m project. Toward the end of the report we see:
‘The development is also supported by the Coastal Communities Fund and LEADER, Scottish Government’s Regeneration Fund and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar.’
As always, I had to go elsewhere to find out the SNP-led administration’s contribution to the project. It’s £300 000 out of the £4.3 million to be spent by them on regenerating coastal communities. Projects awarded funding include:
- £300,000 for Dumfries and Galloway Council towards 64 miles of coastal paths at Rhins of Galloway
- £237,500 for British Waterways Board towards a visitor information centre and hub at Fort Augustus
- £258,190 for Dundee Heritage Trust to transform Discovery Point facilities
- £300,000 for Harris Development Ltd to develop two pontoons for small boats, cruise ship tenders, yachts and cruisers
- Nearly £200,000 for Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust for a network of 25 whale watching and heritage sites across the west coast
Also, in the scot.gov report, we see this from the project chair of Harris Development Limited said:
‘The recent award of £300,000 from the Coastal Communities Fund has completed the £1.35 million funding package required to create the Harris Marina Hub, a project which is expected to bring significant economic benefits to the area through the development of marine tourism.’
Then I find this in the West Highland Free Press:
‘A successful application to the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund has secured £600,000 towards the Isle of Harris Marina Hub, a £1.37 million development of pontoons in East Loch Tarbert.’
Things have clearly changed since the WHFP sacked founding editor, Labour MP and fierce Unionist, Brian Wilson, back in 2015! I know, reader, he’s other things too.
So is that a total of £600 000 or £900 000? Why would the Scottish Business News Network report mention the smaller amount from HIE but not this? Regular readers will know it’s a repeated pattern in several media outlets, of ‘forgetting’ to tell the reader just how big a part Scottish government grants play in a whole range of improvements to Scotland’s housing and infrastructure.