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Snowsports contributing to tourism growth

Scottish ski centres get £5.5 million to safeguard future

GlensheeSki centres in Scotland are to get a £5.5 million upgrade to their facilities as the industry seeks to capitalise on the sport’s popularity.

Enterprise and tourism minister Fergus Ewing, who made the announcement on a visit to Glenshee Ski Centre, said the sector was now worth £30m a year to Scotland  and supported 600 jobs.

Highlands & Islands Enteprise and Scottish Enterprise are providing 75% of the new funding with the centres providing the remaining finance.

“Our ski centres bring many tourists to Scotland and this considerable investment from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise, who have worked together with the centres to identify their needs, will provide the necessary support to ensure the sector’s long term viability,” said Mr Ewing.

For every £1 spent on the hills an additional £4 is spent in the surrounding areas.  Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is investing £2.273m; £342,000 to support the upgrade of ageing assets at the Lecht in the Eastern Cairngorms, £1.4m for Glencoe and £531,000 for Nevis Range.

Glenshee and Glencoe will be replacing existing chair lifts which will cost £2.474 million and £1.89m respectively. The Lecht and Nevis Range will spend £456,000 and £707,000 on upgrades to their current tow lifts. Cairngorm Mountain has already upgraded its infrastructure with support from HIE.

Charlotte Wright, HIE business and sector development director, said: “The ski and snow sports sector is hugely important to the Highland and Scottish economy. The sector has tremendous potential for further growth and the companies operating these centres have the ambition to pursue that potential.”

Scottish Enterprise is providing a £1.86m grant to upgrade facilities at Glenshee in Aberdeenshire. Mark McMullen, team leader at SE said: “The snowsports sector is not only important to Scotland’s rural economy but plays directly into Scotland’s tourism strategy which boasts significant economic growth potential from activity and adventure tourism.”

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland said: “This investment will go a long way to reducing seasonality in rural areas and ensuring the economic benefits of snowsports are felt in Scotland for many years to come.”

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