Investment in Highlands

£20m plan for Cairn Gorm to boost Scottish tourism

Cairngorm Funicular

Cairn Gorm’s funicular railway will be reinstated

Scotland’s ski-ing industry has been offered a £20.5 million package of support from the government as part of moves to underpin the staycation economy.

Cairn Gorm will receive funding to make it a year-round attraction, generating significant benefits for the local area and Scotland’s tourism sector.

Funded by the Scottish Government and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, more than £16 million of the investment will be used to support reinstatement of Scotland’s only funicular railway and bring it back into service during winter 2021-22.

The decision to reinstate the funicular was taken following a detailed options appraisal that also considered replacing it with alternative uplift infrastructure, or removing it entirely.

Initial work to strengthen the 2km structure, which has been out of action since 2018, is expected to start later this month. Once up and running, the funicular is expected to attract thousands of visitors a year, generating benefits for the wider economy in Badenoch and Strathspey, where the tourism and hospitality sectors have been hit hard by coronavirus (COVID-19).

A further £4.35 million has been approved for potential additional capital requirements including building improvements, electrification of snow cannons, existing tow infrastructure, paths and car parking.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “We want to unlock the full potential of Cairn Gorm to make it a destination people can enjoy all year-round, and this significant investment couldn’t come at a better time.

“We know our tourism and hospitality sectors have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic and in Badenoch and Strathspey a quarter of the workforce is in the accommodation and food services sectors – more than double the proportion for the Highlands and Islands as a whole.

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