Travel companies are encouraged to install electric vehicle charging stations to support sustainable travel and boost business.
Tourist attractions can now apply for a new fund to help install electric vehicle charging stations.
The move aims to improve the network of charging stations across Scotland and encourage responsible tourism for businesses and tourists.
As electric vehicles become more popular, businesses in the north and northeast that have already installed charging stations are encouraging others to follow.
EVA (Electric Vehicles Association) Scotland, which promotes the switch to electric vehicles, said every effort must be made to ensure electric vehicle charging infrastructure is in place.
Director Neil Swanson said the new fund would encourage and support electric vehicle tourism.
“EVA Scotland sees this as a key tool to support travel companies, eco-tourism and tourism in general in the Highlands.
“Being able to charge overnight at their destinations, tourists know that they will have a trouble free visit, charging while they eat or sleep, all the time supporting local businesses.”
Companies will be able to advertise on Electric Vehicle platforms and booking sites, he said, making the service a valuable search tool when planning trips.
“Drivers already seek out accommodation that allows overnight charging, starting each day fully charged to explore local attractions.”
In March, 22.2% of newly registered vehicles were electric vehicles, with more than 700,000 electric vehicles on the road.
Additionally, VisitScotland research shows that 43% are interested in switching to electric or hybrid in the next few years.
Price and the fear of not having enough charging points are among the main barriers given to switching from petrol or diesel vehicles.
The £325,000 Electric Vehicle Charge Point Tourism Recovery Fund, launched last week, will support around 100 charge points.
It is administered by the Energy Savings Trust on behalf of VisitScotland and the Scottish Government.
Tourism Minister Ivan McKee said the fund would play an important role in helping businesses install charging stations.
He said: “This will, in turn, make driving an electric car more appealing, as well as aiding the decarbonisation of the transport system across Scotland.”
Rob Dickson, director of industry and destination development at VisitScotland is chairman of the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group.
He said: “Tackling climate change is the biggest challenge facing Scottish tourism and Travel companies now, and in the future, and we want to inspire future generations to say that Scottish tourism led the way and made a difference.”
As part of its sustainability efforts, the mountain resort of Nevis Range mountain has installed eight charging points for electric vehicles.
It has achieved carbon neutral status and is on its way to net zero.
Managing director Chris O’Brien said: “The sustainability strategy is so important to us and has improved the business
“Our Electric Vehicle charge points are very successful. They show us as a business that cares and also help people in their decision-making on where they should choose as their venue.”
He said he would “100%” encourage other tourism businesses to use the fund to install Electric Vehicle charge points.
“The more people that have them the better for everybody.
“It’s no secret that public transport is a challenge in our part of the world.
“So, if we want to bring people from the cities, giving them the confidence they can get regular charge points around the Highlands can only be good for business.”
The Grampian Transport Museum has two charge points on site as well as council-owned points in the car park.
Museum manager Ross McKirdy says they are very popular with visitors: “I’ve had feedback that people come here because we have Electric Vehicle charging points.
“Electric Vehicle use is going up constantly each year. And as more and more people are starting to use EVs there will be more need for the charging points.”
The museum is currently holding an exhibition on the evolution of the Electric Vehicle and next month will host an electric vehicle Expo.
“The charging points are very much in line with what we are doing here, looking at the past but also the future”, says Ross.
The new fund is part of the Destination Net Zero programme, a key strand in the Scottish Government’s Covid tourism recovery programme.
It aims to support businesses and destinations as they transition to a future of net zero emissions.
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