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by Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland
18 October 2021
Associate Feature: Slow Travel for Good

Associate Feature: Slow Travel for Good

It is almost a year since VisitScotland became the first National Tourist Board to sign up to the ‘Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency’ initiative, underlining our focus on responsible tourism and tackling climate change.

With COP26 on the horizon, activity to support a green recovery has never felt more important. We’re working with industry, partners and visitors to drive action towards a low-carbon future, supporting Scotland’s Net Zero target.

We’re supporting the delivery of tourism’s Net Zero Pathway, one of the Scottish Government funded recovery projects which focuses on deliverable investment for low carbon recovery and driving innovation.

In the long term, we’re developing responsible tourism as a core focus for industry engagement and business development activity, supporting businesses through one-to many advice and direct engagement with individual businesses.

We also need to inspire visitors to tread lightly as they travel to, and while visiting, Scotland. We promote public transport to our visitors and are working to increase access to electric cars and charging points for our visitors, through the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund. Visitors are encouraged to consider all possible routes to and around Scotland. Included in the latter is active travel, encouraging visitors to explore on foot, by bike or by paddle.

Our campaign activity theme of ‘Slow Up’ in Scotland, asks audiences to find the right pace of travel and stay longer. Global marketing activity showcases where and why sustainability sits at the heart of what makes Scotland - from protected dramatic landscapes to vibrant cities that are responsibly powered to sustainable innovation in our businesses.

As international travel resumes, our approach focuses on attracting responsible visitors who can boost recovery and have a positive impact on Scotland – economically and environmentally. With a higher spend per visit on average, international visitors are crucial to the recovery of our industry, but it’s important that this happens in a responsible and sustainable way. That’s why we are working with our airline partners to ensure they do all they can in response to the climate emergency, and why we are encouraging visitors to use sustainable transport and reduce waste when in Scotland, helping to minimise their whole trip emissions.

Aligning with this, we’re working with international travel trade buyers who can deliver on our responsible tourism vision. Our recent £1.5million marketing fund was for eligible destination management companies and tour operators based in Scotland to develop and market responsible tourism to international visitors.

Tourism and events are a force for good and our focus on slow tourism and regional and seasonal spread of visitors will secure the industry’s positive impacts for future generations. Through continued cross-party support for the responsible recovery of our industry, working together we’ll see the benefits for both businesses and host communities.

This article was sponsored by VisitScotland.

Read the most recent article written by Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland - Associate Feature: Sustainable tourism: a force for good

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