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New partnership for Orkney’s World Heritage Site

James Stockan, leader of Orkney Islands Council, Alex Paterson, chief executive of Historic Environment Scotland and Carroll Buxton, interim chief executive at HIE.
(Frank Bradford)

An ambitious new partnership to shape the future direction for Orkney’s World Heritage Site was unveiled today, Tuesday.

The partnership brings together Historic Environment Scotland, Orkney Islands Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, who have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to conserve the Heart of Neolithic Orkney site and enhance the visitor experience for tourists and local people.

The first phase will see an initial investment of over £300,000 at the Standing Stones of Stenness to upgrade car parking facilities and improve the pathways network to encourage greater connection between monuments and surrounding areas.

Funding will also be invested into looking at the visitor journey and exploring opportunities for greater connectivity and enhancement of how visitors experience over 5,000 years of history.

The signing and first phase of the project follows an initial scoping exercise to look at current challenges and opportunities facing the World Heritage Site, within the context of Orkney’s wider heritage and tourism offer, particularly how to manage the growing number of visitors drawn to the site by its internationally famous monuments.

Designed to work alongside the existing World Heritage Site Management Plan, the Partnership, in consultation with industry and other stakeholder will look at areas including visitor flow management, infrastructure and connectivity.

The project will also see further investment in the island’s visitor offer to create a destination-led approach, whilst championing opportunities for sustainable tourism.

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