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 visitscotland.com, 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
Whilst the activity launched today will be visible over the forthcoming weeks and month, the collaborative marketing and communications work across the groups will continue throughout the year as tourism begins to reopen.
Visit Scotland have also produced a useful video guide to using campervans and motorhomes in Scotland: https://youtu.be/UvOS53pbQFc