The European Union (EU) has no specific tourism policy. Even though there are divergent views on its involvement in regional development, there is a consensus on the fact that the EU is involved by its principle role of ‘Subsidiarity’. There is also continued participation of the EU in activities related to tourism development in the community. Undoubtedly, the EU is having an impact on regional development of members states. Research carried out shows the contribution of the EU in regional development and tourism. The EU funding has tended to focus on peripheral areas and where traditional industries are declining. Tourism related projects (such as visitor attractions) have benefited from such funding programmes, on the assumption that these projects will create employment and increase visitor numbers, as well as promote the economies of these regions. Consequently, this paper considers the contributions of EU funding of tourism attractions in the Aberdeen and Grampian region of Scotland and issues affecting the effectiveness of the attractions themselves. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.