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Visit Scotland | Alba

Organisations across Scotland have come together to develop a Scotland-wide approach to visitor management.   

As COVID-19 restrictions were lifted last year, 2020 witnessed a massive increase in domestic visitors to rural and coastal areas, including hotspots like the National Parks, with resultant increase in pressure placed upon our communities,  facilities and infrastructure, such as waste disposal, toilets and parking. 

Although only a minority of visitors were involved, anti-social behaviour was widely reported upon in the media and by community groups, with particular challenges around irresponsible camping behaviours, littering, land access, a lack of control of dogs particularly around livestock, the lighting of fires and cutting down of branches / trees, and inappropriate or unsafe parking. 

Many local communities felt unprepared to deal with this increase in visitors, particularly day visitors, campers and campervans. And many of these new home-grown audiences are unaware of general guidance around responsible visitor behaviours and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. A consequence was that in many parts of the country community sentiment towards visitors hardened. 

A national partnership led by VisitScotland, with support from NatureScot, Police Scotland, National Park Authorities, Forestry & Land Scotland, local authorities, Transport Scotland and other partners, has been established to address these challenges.

Visitor management strategic framework for Scotland

Published March 2021

Visitor management strategy action log

Published July 2021

Activity

The partnership has worked together to create a responsible tourism toolkit featuring royalty-free images and posters with key messages on a wide range of important topics from water safety, camping, and motorhoming to litter, responsible dog walking, outdoor access, and fire safety. You can download assets from our Digital Media Library.

Our campaign activity includes a responsible tourism film, radio, PR, e-communication, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok and Instagram alongside billboard and screen advertising across Scotland’s main cities.

This work is supported by a responsible tourism page on VisitScotland.com, itineraries created for travel trade and a visitor promise. In addition, a dedicated responsible visitor guide on VisitScotland.org with films, images, content and more is available for the tourism industry (businesses and stakeholders) to communicate widely across their own social media activity and marketing.

We’ve also created a Responsible Tourism toolkit, which features royalty-free images and posters with key messages on a wide range of important topics from water safety, camping, and motorhoming to litter, responsible dog walking, outdoor access, and fire safety. Everything is pre-formatted for use on your website, posting on your social media channels, or printing for your place of business. 

Visitor management