Highlands & Islands Regional MSP, David Stewart took the opportunity at the Scottish Parliament yesterday (28th November) to ask at Questions on Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, what assessment the Government had made of the impact of the North Coast 500 on tourism and infrastructure, and how best the route can be used to develop these.
Responding for the Government, Ben MacPherson, MSP, advised that HIE were Chairing a working group who were looking at all surrounding issues of the NC500. A report commissioned in 2017 evidenced that business trade was up 10-20% and an increase of around 200 jobs. He advised that another impact assessment would be undertaken in December 2018.
David Stewart said ” There is no doubt that the NC 500 has brought an economic boom to the North West Highlands with 30,000 extra visitors coming and the economy itself benefitting from near £9m. However, balance is the key word here. Those concerned in this issue have to make sure there is the infrastructure in place to meet the demand. This means adequate sanitation facilities, adequate roads structure, adequate accommodation facilities and of course a satisfactory traffic and roads management system. I hope the working group look closely at these issues in December.