Sustainability Assessment


Through the VisitScotland Quality Assurance Scheme, we are encouraging tourism businesses to become more sustainable.

Recognising the business benefits of operating in a sustainable way, VisitScotland has been carrying out basic assessments of the sustainability actions businesses are currently undertaking, as well as providing advice and support on additional opportunities.

Up to 38 sustainability actions are reviewed during a Quality Assurance visit and according to our latest research 98% of quality assured tourism businesses in Scotland are already implementing sustainability activity with most focusing on:

  • Promotion of natural and cultural heritage
  • Energy efficiency
  • Waste management

In recognition of this, VisitScotland has included sustainability actions as a minimum standard in our Quality Assurance scheme since 2015.


What this means for businesses:


Since January 2015, business have been required to undertake a set number of sustainability actions, recognising that a very high proportion of businesses are already achieving the minimum standard.


The range of sustainability actions reviewed provides businesses with an opportunity to pick those that are the most relevant and beneficial to them, taking into account the nature of the business and customer profile.


Quality and Tourism Advisors will discuss and review the following areas with businesses:

  1. Energy efficiency
  2. Water efficiency
  3. Waste management
  4. Sustainable purchasing
  5. Travel and transport
  6. Natural and cultural heritage
  7. Sustainable management
  8. Customer engagement and communications
  9. Accessibility

For guidance on the actions that will be reviewed and the number required go to our Quality Assurance Accommodation section or Attractions and Activity Venue section.


It is important to note that the number of sustainability actions undertaken will not affect the business’s quality star grading in any way.



How does this work?

  • Quality and Tourism Advisors will undertake a basic sustainability review to establish how many actions the business is undertaking and offer relevant advice. This review will be carried out free of charge.
  • Businesses will receive sustainability advice as part of their Quality Assurance grading report with appropriate recommendations and signposting to further information.
  • If you are a member of the Green Tourism Business Scheme or David Bellamy Awards (holiday parks) this will be considered as automatically meeting the standards.  
  • VisitScotland will continue to encourage businesses to participate in relevant green certification schemes


Advice and support


Businesses will continue to be given advice and support through our Quality and Tourism Advisors on activities that could be undertaken and the benefits of being more sustainable.


We have also developed a range of Better Business Guides to help you enhance your visitor experience and improve service, provide cost saving opportunities and increase business efficiency. There are many actions which are simple and cost little or nothing, which your business can benefit from quickly.


If you have any queries or would like more details please contact us at


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