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The Nature of Scotland Awards 2021 opens for entries


Brought to you by RSPB Scotland and co-sponsored by NatureScot, be part of their special 10 year anniversary awards programme! Free to enter, they’re seeking applications and nominations by Tuesday 14 June in 10 award categories from business, public sector organisations, research institutions, community groups and individuals who have been active in nature conservation across Scotland, and their work can date back to March 2018.

There will be two new categories including the Health and Wellbeing Award which recognises the positive relationship between nature and wellbeing and celebrates initiatives that actively encourage people to engage with nature to support mental and/or physical health and a new Nature Champion of the Decade which will open as a public vote in autumn.

Learn more about all the award categories, enter your own project or nominate your conservation heroes today.

For updates on the awards and information on previous winners please follow @NatureofScot on Twitter.



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From 26 April it’s expected that the tourism and hospitality industry can begin to reopen. The Scottish Government is currently updating guidance and it’s hoped this will be finalised and available to the sectors by mid-April to allow time for operators to absorb and plan for any changes in advance of reopening.

Many of the standard aspects of the current guidance will remain the same, such as physical distancing, face coverings, at seat service in hospitality and enhanced hygiene protocols.

Safe operating practices will continue to be the subject of a risk-based approach, with all premises required to revisit their COVID-19 risk assessments. This can be carried out now for the majority of ongoing mitigating measures and then reviewed in light of updated guidance when published.

Further updates will be provided as soon as possible.

There are, understandably, some pertinent questions you need answers to, and we’ve worked with the Scottish Government team to pull together a list of topical questions, and answers: CLICK HERE FOR FULL LIST OF QUESTIONS 

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SSDA announces new Chief Executive and marketing platform to drive bold ambitions and vision for the South of Scotland


cid:image001.png@01D7247B.6685C8A0The South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA), today announced the organisation’s first major steps to making the South a world-class destination and supporting the region’s economic recovery from the impact of Covid-19, with the appointment of their inaugural Chief Executive and the unveiling of a new look Scotland Starts Here campaign.

Ross McAuley, a Scot with more than 20 years international commercial, entrepreneurial and marketing experience, will take on the leadership role in May. In addition to driving forward the SSDA’s ambitious destination development plans, which include increasing tourism spend in the region to £1bn by 2030 and creating 6,500 new jobs, he will oversee the SSDA’s commitment to enabling the region’s tourism and hospitality industry to recover and flourish in the wake of Covid-19.


Ross has a strong track record in destination management and tourism having previously led ground-breaking global tourism initiatives in the Middle East including nine years at luxury hospitality brand Jumeirah Group, followed by building a successful global travel and tourism consultancy business. His experience in challenging the status quo, developing insights into regional and cultural behaviour, promoting destinations and increasing visitor market share will help SSDA develop the South of Scotland as a new destination for visitors far and wide.


He joins the SSDA team, led by Project Manager Jemma Reid, who today brought together Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders as one destination through Scotland Starts Here, a marketing campaign and information hub for all those looking to discover the very best the South of Scotland has to offer. Now featuring over 1000-member businesses, travel inspiration and experience finders, this campaign signals a pivotal phase of SSDA’s marketing and product development activity.


Commenting on today’s announcement, Ross said“The South is the hidden gem of Scotland, overlooked in the past as a destination but with a proud history, stunning landscape, great people and enormous potential to engage and inspire. By bringing Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders together, we’re creating a new destination with the scale to bring tourism spend to local communities, and that really excites me.


“Clearly, the impact of Covid-19 has been felt far and wide through local businesses and communities while at the same time completely disrupting the travel market. However, I believe that tourism will bounce back strongly – I can’t wait to join the team and help develop a sustainable tourism strategy in a way that leads to opportunities for both businesses and communities as well as attracting investment. Scotland Starts Here is our first step on that journey taking the South of Scotland to new audiences.”


Stretching from coast to coast across the spectacular region, Scotland Starts Here comprises a website and app that will be supported by digital marketing activity including podcasts, eBooks, videos, blogs, social media channels and advertising campaigns. It will showcase to local communities and visitors, that Scotland’s identity and soul were born in the South – not only in location, but also as an area that has shaped the nation’s history and culture for centuries.


By promoting the South of Scotland as a new destination for visitors to discover and explore, Scotland Starts Here puts a spotlight on authentic local experiences and award-winning products and businesses. It will increase visitor awareness of what the area has to offer while inspiring more day visits, short breaks and holidays. The website also includes a Travel Partners section designed to help Travel Trade Agents build trip itineraries and access marketing information.


Alongside the marketing activity, SSDA will also be running a year-long business engagement and product development programme, aimed at helping members through the recovery period, upskilling them and inspiring their own future business development. Amongst many areas, this will include digitalisation, business collaborations, developing bookable products and experiences, agritourism, supply chain partnerships, education and skills and travel trade training and sale.


David Ibbotson, Chair of SSDA, commented“This is an exciting time for SSDA. With our members and region preparing for reopening later in the Spring, we’re delighted to have Ross at the helm as we embark on our next stage. Since forming last year, we’ve already undertaken a busy six-month programme of business events and training, putting in place a solid foundation from where we can work with members and build the right recovery programme for the South of Scotland. We’ve been so encouraged by business and member feedback and the support of our partners, and that has all come together through the new Scotland Starts Here campaign. The South has always been the poor relation in terms of awareness and visitor numbers, but now we can’t wait to show Scotland and the world the magical region we have on our doorstep!”


Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise said: “I am delighted to welcome Ross as  CEO of the SSDA.  Ross brings with him a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience which aligns with our bold ambitions and huge vision for the South of Scotland. When we announced our investment of £2.7m in the SSDA just four months after going live as SOSE, we made it clear that it was confirming our commitment at a crucial time – to look beyond Covid-19 to the future growth and sustainability of the economy of the South of Scotland.


“Our collective aim is to make the region a world-class visitor destination attracting people to live, work, visit and invest in the area for many years to come, and whilst we could never have anticipated the unprecedented challenge that COVID-19 has brought to our economy – we must focus on an optimistic future and one which makes our economy stronger than ever. Having SSDA now in place and now announcing the appointment of its hugely experienced and passionate leader marks significant steps forward for the region. This, combined with the appointment of our own new permanent CEO in Jane Morrison-Ross who joined us in February, provides us with two new, very experienced leaders who will provide part of an ambitious future for both organisations.  These two strong leaders of both SOSE and SSDA will form part of an important partnership across the South of Scotland which is vital for our recovery and we look forward to working with Ross and the team at SSDA to make it happen.”


VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead said: “We’re delighted to welcome Ross Macauley as the inaugural CEO of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance. His appointment comes at an important time for tourism in the South of Scotland, as the industry faces the difficult challenge of recovering from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


“After a year of job losses and business closures, it will take time, significant investment, funding support and strong leadership to rebuild this vital part of Scotland’s economy. With the right support and partnership working between agencies and industry tourism and events can lead the economic recovery and boost inward investment where it is needed most.


“There has been a renewed commitment to the south of Scotland in the past three years and the South of Scotland Destination Alliance now has the opportunity to build on this activity with the launch of the new-look Scotland Starts Here campaign and promote the wealth of experiences on offer across the region.


“Tourism is a force for good and if managed responsibly, sustains communities in every corner of Scotland, creating jobs, tackling depopulation and improving the wellbeing of everyone who experiences it.


“We look forward to working together with Ross and the SSDA to support the recovery of this vital part of Scotland’s economy.”



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Scottish Tourism Index March 21

56 Degree Insight

Scottish Tourism Index – Wave 5, March 2021
  • Whilst there is room for some optimism, the latest Scottish Tourism Index demonstrates that there are a number of challenges ahead to ensure home-base holidays (staycations) can provide the tourism industry with the much needed boost it needs in 2021
  • Over a fifth of Scots are simply not thinking about holidays yet (22%) and 27% feel that holidays are something they won’t be planning for some time. These groups remained concerned about risks of transmission and would like to wait until the vaccine rollout and declining cases reach a level where they feel completely safe.
  • However, the remaining half of the population are more positive about taking a holiday this year – indeed 1 in 8 (12%) are desperate for a holiday and will take one as soon as they can. Members of this group feel they need to travel, to escape from the difficulties of the last 12 months.
  • Almost half (46%) of Scots are very likely or definite about taking a home holiday this year – and a further 24% are fairly likely – 7 in 10 Scots overall. This compares with around two in five likely to go elsewhere in the UK (42%), three in ten into Europe (29%) and 11% further afield.
  • However the uncertainty of what will be possible this year means that only a small proportion of Scots have already booked a 2021 staycation (5%) while a larger percentage (32%) are just at the planning or consideration stages.
  • When asked to rate the importance of a different factors if they were to take a Scottish staycation high standards of hygiene and cleanliness were rated most highly. Mitigations to aid social distancing remain important but notably less so than in the summer of 2020. More important in 2021 were reassurances that there would be a range of places open to visit and where it would be possible to eat and drink.
  • While 17% of Scottish staycations are expected to be taken before the end of June, a larger percentage (51%) are expected to take place between July and the end of September, and 14% in the last quarter. Reflecting the uncertainty amongst consumers, 18% of those planning a trip are unsure of when.
  • As in 2020, rural locations continue to hold greatest appeal with the Highlands leading the way, followed by Argyll, Edinburgh & Lothians, Aberdeenshire, Ayrshire & Arran and Perthshire.
  • Also reflecting demand in 2020, self-catering accommodation continues to be the most popular for holidays planned for 2021 with 47% intending to stay in this type of accommodation. Small hotels are likely to be used by 44%, guesthouses/B&Bs by 33% and large hotels by 30% – and all other types of accommodation by less than 15% in each case.
  • Underlying these percentages there are shifts in accommodation preferences compared with pre-COVID. Self-catering in particular now has much greater appeal (+25% swing) as do campervans (+11%).
  • In terms of activities undertaken on holidays, 33% of Scots are more likely to consider visiting the natural outdoors on a Scottish holiday post-COVID-19, and a similar percentage are more likely to seek rest and relaxation. More active pursuits such as walking and cycling are also more popular with +26% appeal. In contrast indoor activities such as visits to arts and cultural venues and shopping for gifts and souvenirs will still have reduced appeal.
  • Considering Scottish community attitudes to the re-opening of tourism, although a degree of reticence remains (23% would at most only want small numbers of visitors), compared to 2020 there is a more relaxed attitude towards visitors generally with almost half (48%) pf the population feeling comfortable and ready to welcome visitors.

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Pictured: Langholm Moor © David Lintern / John Muir Trust.

South of Scotland’s biggest community buyout completes

The South of Scotland’s largest community buyout has been legally completed following one of the most ambitious community fundraising campaigns ever seen and paving the way for the creation of a vast new nature reserve in Dumfries and Galloway.

The landmark agreement of £3.8 million for 5,200 acres of land and six residential properties was reached between The Langholm Initiative charity and Buccleuch last October, after the community of Langholm’s six-month fundraising drive reached its target in the final two days.

With the transfer of ownership finalised, the community now owns the land for the first time in its history. Work is to begin immediately on creating the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve to help tackle climate breakdown, restore nature, and support community regeneration.

Margaret Pool, Chair of The Langholm Initiative, said: “Together we’ve achieved something which once seemed impossible, and today we can celebrate as a new era begins for this special land with which our community has such a deep and long-standing connection.

“Our sincere, heartfelt thanks go to so many people for making this historic moment for Langholm happen – including the generous donors and tireless volunteers, and to Buccleuch for being so supportive and positive in their approach.” 

Benny Higgins, Executive Chairman of Buccleuch, said: “To have concluded the sale to the community is a fantastic achievement, and a great example of what can be achieved when communities and businesses like Buccleuch engage openly with one another and work to a common goal. This was achieved by goodwill and working together, following voluntarily all the relevant guidance and protocols.

“We look forward to seeing the plans for the area coming to life over the coming months, and wish The Langholm Initiative all the very best with this.

“Buccleuch has been reducing the footprint of its landholdings in the last decade and, having sold approximately 30,000 acres of land in this period to farmers and community organisations, we will continue to reinvest revenue from land sales into a variety of business projects across the farming, forestry, renewable energy, and leisure and hospitality sectors.”

The Langholm Initiative has set up Tarras Valley Nature Reserve for the day-to-day running of the ambitious new venture, and is currently recruiting two new members of staff who will oversee the landscape-scale nature-restoration project.

Globally important peatlands and ancient woods will be restored, native woodlands established, and a haven ensured for wildlife including rare hen harriers, the UK’s most persecuted bird of prey. Plans for community regeneration include new nature-based tourism opportunities.

Discussions are continuing between The Langholm Initiative and Buccleuch over another 5,300 acres of land the community wishes to buy, and which could double the size of the new nature reserve.

After the launch of the community’s fundraising drive last May, The Langholm Initiative had until 31 October to raise the funds for the deal, to avoid the withdrawal of a £1m offer from the Scottish Land Fund. At times the project appeared to be seriously at risk.

Other major funders supporting the project are South of Scotland Enterprise, John Muir Trust, The Carman Family Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation and The Bently Foundation. 

The charity’s public crowdfunder, supported by nearly 4,000 people from around the world, reached its £200,000 target after a surge of over £50,000 in donations during its final week, including £24,000 on one day alone.

In the final 48 hours, with the community still some £150,000 short of the total funds needed, The Woodland Trust agreed to contribute £200,000 – taking The Langholm Initiative over the line.

Leading charities that have supported the buyout include Borders Forest Trust, Rewilding Britain, RSPB Scotland, Scottish Wildlife Trust, and Trees for Life.

The Langholm Initiative now aims to show how community ownership can be a catalyst for regeneration with the environment at its heart, and hopes its success will inspire other communities in Scotland and across the UK. 

The Langholm Initiativeformed in 1994 as one of south Scotland’s first development trusts, facilitates projects making a lasting difference to the local area and people. See

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Scotland, Yours to Enjoy. Responsibly

We cannot wait to start welcoming visitors to Scotland again soon.

Here’s a wee film for you to enjoy in the meantime – please share the hashtag #RespectProtectEnjoy and this great film far and wide – help us to keep Scotland beautiful 😍
For more information about how you can enjoy Scotland responsibly see here.
In the meantime #Stayhome #Staysafe

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VisitScotland Launches Responsible Tourism Campaign

VisitScotland has today (22 March) announced a responsible tourism campaign to raise awareness of the importance of exploring the outdoors responsibly with the focus on asking people to leave no trace of their visit and protect Scotland’s stunning countryside.

The £124,000 campaign, which looks to counteract some of the issues seen as a result of a new, home grown audience of visitors discovering and enjoying Scotland’s countryside will call on people to respect, protect and enjoy Scotland.

It includes a responsible tourism film and script which will be broadcast across radio, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram alongside billboard and outdoor digital screen advertising in all of Scotland’s main cities. This work will be supported by a dedicated responsible tourism page on, dedicated itineraries created for travel trade and information and advice for the tourism sector on the corporate website.

With more people enjoying the outdoors as the weather improves and the plan for lockdown restrictions to be lifted towards the end of April, VisitScotland’s campaign will reinforce the importance that as visitors, we should be aware of the consequences of our visits on our stunning landscapes, wildlife and communities.


The activity, which supports the visitor management strategy announced by Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, Fergus Ewing on Friday, will ask visitors to protect our countryside, respect the local communities, wildlife and landscapes but still enjoy the beautiful natural resources we have across the country.


Vicki Miller, Director of Marketing & Digital at VisitScotland said:


“This campaign is hugely important particularly at this time, as we are all enjoying outdoors more due to restrictions to other sections of the tourism industry. It is imperative that we realise the impact of our visits on these areas and our individual and collective responsibility to care for Scotland.

“We want to protect the stunning landscapes and wildlife that Scotland is famous for and the local communities that are such an important part of our culture. We are asking everyone to help keep Scotland special by ensuring we protect our natural resources by being responsible and respectful when out and about.

“We have a unique opportunity to positively engage audiences to enjoy the outdoors responsibly and come together to develop a Scotland-wide strategic and coordinated approach to help protect what’s there for future visitors and aid the recovery of our rural economy.”


The national tourism organisation’s campaign is part of the Visitor Management Strategy and Steering Group, led by the Scottish Government and VisitScotland and includes three workstream groups with focuses on Education and Marketing, Investment and Infrastructure, and Prevention, Regulation & Reassurance.


The Education and Marketing Group is led by VisitScotland along with partner organisations Cairngorms Business Partnership, Cairngorms National Park Authority, Forestry & Land Scotland, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, Lochaber Chamber, National Park Authorities, NatureScot, Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), Wild Scotland and Zero Waste Scotland; all working together to target people across Scotland with the aim of influencing them to enjoy our outdoor spaces more and in a respectful way.


Some of the issues the groups have been addressing since last year include:

  • Littering – dropping and leaving litter, leaving camping equipment, broken glass
  • Environmental damage and fire hazards – damaging fences and signage; lighting fires in unauthorised locations or in unsafe ways, felling trees, damaging surrounding wildlife and risking spread of wildfires
  • Unsafe waste disposal – people not using designated toilets or appropriate facilities and leaving waste outdoors
  • Poor preparation – a lack of understanding of rapid weather change and challenging terrains, sometimes resulting in visitors getting into trouble or requiring assistance
  • Traffic and inappropriate parking – increased demand on hot spots, parking in passing places or areas that are not safe or block access to land managers or residents


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STA Spring Virtual Conference 2021 – a do not miss for all tourism and hospitality businesses, large and small

The Scottish Tourism Alliance, the leading representative body for the tourism sector in Scotland will host its first virtual annual national tourism conference this Wednesday  – 24th March, 1000 – 1300.

Entitled ‘Looking Forward…’, the free to attend event has been structured around the ‘Outlook 2030’ tourism strategy themes of sustainability, experiences, people and place to offer delegates the most relevant insights to enable effective recovery.

Bookings close today at 5:00 pm

Conference programme
The STA has built a strong programme for the three hour event (with a couple of coffee breaks!) and have confirmed that STA Chair Stephen Leckie will be interviewing the First Minister as part of the programme, posing key questions about the rebuild, recovery and future sustainability of Scotland’s tourism industry.

Caroline Bremner, Head of Travel Research at Euromonitor International will present the latest forecasts and COVID-19 scenarios for global travel and tourism in Our Future Sustainability session, highlighting key consumer shifts in attitudes and behaviours one year on. Caroline will also share insights from Euromonitor’s Sustainable Travel Index, looking at best practice in sustainable tourism to create value for competitive advantage and power sustainable transformation.

Our Future Experiences session will follow, ‘What’s Cooking and What’s Brewing’, presented by Peter Martin, Vice President of CGA, exploring innovation and new experiences within the world of food and drink with insights into where the opportunities might lie for Scotland.

Our Future People session, ‘Upskilling our Fantastic People’ will welcome David Cochrane, CEO HIT (Scotland) who will interview Jane Rennie, Founder of The Extraordinary Training Company to get the thoughts of some of the students who are currently taking part in the 2000 delegate strong Tourism and Hospitality Talent Development Leadership Programme.

The STA will welcome back Travel Writer and Destination Development Advisor, Doug Lansky to deliver this year’s keynote session, ‘Our Future Place’ entitled ‘Future Destinations, totally connected!’.  Doug will share more details on a destination technology solution he’s been working on to help drive positive recovery and improve the experience for the customer, increase revenue for businesses and to help the destination become more competitive and sustainable

Our Future Business’ panel session, hosted by Marc Crothall, will bring a panel of experts together to discuss how we can overcome the different challenges faced by a variety of our tourism sectors.  Panellists confirmed include Kate Nicholls – CEO UK Hospitality, Vicki Miller- Director Marketing VisitScotland, Paul Easto – COO Active Travel Group, Justin Reid – Director Destination Marketing Trip Advisor EMEA and Susan Fouquier – Regional Managing Director Royal Bank of Scotland Business Banking.

The event is FREE to attend and whatever business you have, you’ll get some sharp insights to support the recovery of our business, destination, sector and our industry so it’s an absolute do not miss!

Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the STA“Scotland’s tourism industry has changed so much from everything we knew as a result of the pandemic; our ‘new world’ will look entirely different, as will Scotland’s tourism product and the way that people choose to experience our vast and varied assets so it’s absolutely vital that we bring all sectors within the industry the most up to date insights and inspiration to guide them towards and indeed through recovery.  We would normally host a 600 delegate conference at one of Scotland’s largest venues so this feels very new for us to be doing but hugely exciting and represents a valuable opportunity for people from all types of tourism business in Scotland to come together for a morning to network, hear the most important insights and really importantly, be inspired and energised to move forward from what has undoubtedly been the darkest time I expect our industry will ever experience.”

To view the full programme and book your place, please click here.



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Some helpful guidance and indicative dates relating to the latest Government update on the 16th March – especially in relation to adventure tourism activities

Updated Government Strategic Famework 

COVID-19 Guidance for Wildlife Adventure and Activity Operators 


Travel into and out of Scotland

Currently non-essential travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK and the wider Common Travel Area (CTA) (i.e. the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) is prohibited as a measure to reduce the risk of importation of the virus.

Indicative Dates

12th March

  • Organised Outdoor Sport/ Activities  for groups of adults of up to 15 including the coach/ guide was able to resume from Friday 12th March.
  • For clarity ‘Organised’ sporting or physical activity refers to:  activities where the number of participants is larger than allowed under normal household rules and which are undertaken in a structured and managed way following the specific rules and guidance of the relevant National Governing Body, local authority or businesses who have in turn fully applied related sportscotland and Scottish Government Guidance. Relevant NGB guidance can be found within the Wild Scotland COVID-19 Guidance
  • All organised activity should be overseen by a COVID Officer whose role is to ensure appropriate management processes are in place so that they can effectively oversee and maintain the measured outline. The COVID Officer will also need to take the eLearning.
  • In effect this sportscotland guidance suspends physical distancing and household guidelines, for the duration of the activity. Some activities will require participants to be closer than 2 metres and contact between maybe at times necessary. Mitigating actions will need to be in place ensure the safety of the participant.

2nd April

  • The stay-at-home message will change to stay local.
  • As far as we know at the moment the rules for ‘Organised outdoor activity will remain the same as we stay in level 4.  Therefore, the activity must only take place within the authority area that the participants are from. However, the coach/ guide can travel out of the authority area.
  • Informal activity is slightly different in that you can travel 5 miles out of your local authority area – starting and ending from the same place.
  • For non-organised, informal activity up to 4 adults from 2 homes are allowed to gather for recreation and exercise

5th April

  • 6 people from 2 households will be able to meet for recreation and exercise
  • More retailers/ click and collect to open

 26th April

  • Travel within mainland Scotland allowed.
  • Tourist accommodation can open with restrictions in place. Note: if not before this may allow camping overnights to be undertaken, albeit with appropriate covid safety measures in place e.g. single person occupancy.
  • Hope for travel with rest of UK to resume but nothing has been confirmed.

17 May: What next?

On 17 May, it is hoped that groups of four people from two households would be able to socialise indoors in a private home, and that cinemas, amusement arcades and small scale outdoor and indoor events could restart with limits on capacity. Further easing on this date would include outdoor contact sport for adults and indoor group exercise. Further clarity is required as to what this might mean for outdoor activities and marine operators.

The First Minister also indicated that in early June it is hoped that Scotland could move to Level 1 and by end of June to level 0.

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Supporting Rural Tourism

Preparing for increased visitor numbers this summer.

More seasonal rangers, temporary toilets, car parking and campervan facilities will help rural areas to welcome back visitors when coronavirus restrictions are eased.

The work – supported by £2.75 million to be administered through the NatureScot Better Places Fund – comes after countryside hotspots saw a marked increase in tourists last year, resulting in issues such as a lack of services, littering and antisocial behaviour.

A multiagency Visitor Management Steering Group has published a list of actions to ensure rural communities are prepared, including:

  • investment in infrastructure and facilities, including doubling the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund to £6.2 million
  • engagement with Police Scotland who will work closely with communities and 14 Partnerships Against Rural Crime Groups to help manage challenging behaviour
  • a review of existing guidance where needed, in particular on managing camping with tents and starting fires
  • a VisitScotland led marketing campaign to raise awareness of how to explore the countryside responsibly

Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing said:

“Whilst for now the ‘stay at home’ message remains, we can all look forward to enjoying Scotland’s unmatched tourism offering when the sector restarts. As people flock back to our beautiful rural areas, we want to make sure these communities are ready to welcome back increased visitor numbers, especially as international travel may not be possible for some time yet.

“The collaboration between the Scottish Government and partners on the Visitor Management Group has been exceptional and I am confident we have a robust set of plans to prepare for a successful Scottish summer season. We’ve published a list of actions we will take to mitigate some of the challenges from last summer and this one off funding will complement local authorities’ visitor management plans and provide some additional short term support for the 2021 season.

“We’ve long supported rural tourism through the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund and I’m pleased to announce that the fourth round of funding will open imminently for applications so rural communities can continue to reap the benefits of a thriving tourism industry.”

Francesca Osowska, NatureScot Chief Executive, said:

“NatureScot is committed to helping everyone to be able to enjoy Scotland’s outdoors. This new £2.75 million will allow us to further invest – through Round Two of our Better Places Green Recovery Fund – in visitor infrastructure, and the skills needed to build and maintain improvements so that we can all access and enjoy nature easily and safely.

“Investing in nature, including in visitor management, is a key part of a green recovery: providing jobs; addressing nature loss; and tackling climate change. Round 2 of our Better Places Fund will support Local Authorities, as well as community groups, charities and NGOs, to make further improvements to visitor management during the 2021 season and I encourage you to submit your applications for this crucial work as soon as possible.”


Local authorities and community organisations can apply for grants of up to £75,000 per site, which will be administered through NatureScot’s Better Places Fund Round 2

The work of the Visitor Management Group has been led by VisitScotland in close collaboration with NatureScot, Police Scotland, National Park Authorities, Forestry and Land Scotland, local authorities, Transport Scotland and others.

The group focused on three areas including Education and Marketing, Investment and Infrastructure, and Prevention, Regulation & Reassurance.

The budget allocation for the National Parks has been increased by £4.6 million in 2021-2022, including £1m to help with visitor management. A further £750,000 has been granted to NatureScot for visitor management at the National Nature Reserves.

Read the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

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