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Visit Scotland | Alba

Organisations across Scotland work together to deliver a collaborative approach to visitor management.

In this section:

  1. Strategy steering group and workstreams
  2. Marketing activity
  3. Industry guide
  4. Infrastructure and resource
  5. Management at key hotspots
  6. Regional projects
  7. Virtual summits

1. Strategy steering group and workstreams

Our coordinated Scotland-wide strategic approach educates key audiences to enjoy our countryside responsibly. It pulls together the current and planned actions into a cohesive and aligned direction of travel.

We bundled this in a vision of how the visitor experience will develop over a 10-year period. An action log records progress against our four strategy pillars:

  1. Educating our current and future visitors
  2. Investing in Scotland’s current and future visitor management infrastructure and services
  3. Delivering a joined up and cohesive action plan across Scotland
  4. Becoming and remaining a world leader in visitor management

 

The strategy and its implementation is overseen by the Strategy Steering Group. VisitScotland chairs it. Other members are:

  • NatureScot
  • Cairngorms National Park Authority
  • Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
  • Forestry & Land Scotland
  • Highland Council
  • Police Scotland
  • Scottish Government (tourism)
  • Transport Scotland

Workstreams

Subgroups of this steering group bring together regional and national partners. Together, they cover three workstreams:

  1. 1

    Education and marketing

    Developing and delivering public-facing communications to promote:

    • Sustainable tourism and responsible behaviour
    • Communication with stakeholders about the strategy
  2. 2

    Operational

    Coordinating local visitor management on the ground, particularly in hotspot areas.

  3. 3

    Co-ordination

    • Facilitating coordinated implementation of the strategy
    • Monitoring progress (including maintaining the action log)
    • Leading on areas requiring particular technical input

Visitor management strategic framework for Scotland

Published March 2021

Visitor management strategy action log

Published July 2022

There are also three working groups which feed into the coordination subgroup. We established these to:

  • Look at topic areas which are prevalent in the action log
  • Cover camping and campervan, transport and digital

 

Three surfers relax on their boards near the shore

2. Marketing activity

We're working with partner organisations to deliver a coordinated approach to:

  • Responsible tourism marketing
  • Education activity

 

The latest activity builds on builds on learnings from the 2021 campaign which reached at least 83% of adults in Scotland.

You can read more about the 2021 campaign and view its excellent results in the following PDF:

Visitor management performance 2021

Published June 2022

Visitor management performance 2021

For spring and summer 2022, we have launched our new Keep Scotland Unspoiled campaign.

 

Keep Scotland Unspoiled uses social media, local radio and digital marketing. It aims to educate, inspire and inform people about issues such as:

  • Water safety, fire safety, dog control
  • The need to adhere to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code

 

We're using humour to convey our key messaging. We also ensure we are setting a more positive tone around the need to behave responsibly when visiting outdoor places.

As part of our efforts this year to reach younger audiences, we're also working with some of Scotland’s top travel influencers. These will be creating content for their channels themed around the key topics.

Two dog walkers have their dogs on a leash as they open a gate

3. Industry guide

The partnership worked together to create a dedicated guide with films, images, content and more. The tourism industry (business and stakeholders) can use it across their own social media activity and marketing.

 

Also check out our responsible tourism imagery on a wide range of important topics, including:

  • Water safety
  • Camping
  • Motorhoming
  • Litter
  • Responsible dog walking
  • Outdoor access
  • Fire safety

Two dogwalkers on an unpaved road and a footpath sign on the foreground

4. Infrastructure and resource

Agencies and local authorities are working in partnership to address the issues on the ground. This covers long term strategic planning and permanent infrastructure developments alongside immediate measures. These include temporary infrastructure and the provision of additional rangers.

Specific plans and initiatives on which our partners took the lead include:

Before our visitor management approach, we delivered the following fund with Scottish Government:

 

It addressed some of the pressures on infrastructure and negative impacts on local communities due to a rise in visitors to these areas. It funded development of 24 strategic tourism infrastructure development plans across rural Scotland. These will also help inform the priorities for the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund over the next three to five years.

Drone footage of a hill path from above

5. Management at key hotspots

Our partner agencies make visitor experiences as enjoyable and positive as possible with a focus on key hotspots. For 2022, the same approach is being adopted in the following locations:

  • North Coast 500
  • Arisaig & Morar
  • Cairngorms National Park
  • Highland Perthshire
  • Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
  • Galloway Forest Park
  • Loch Ken
  • Pentland Hills Regional Park
  • The East Lothian Coastline

 

These parts of Scotland are facing visitor management challenges. So, they've put measures in place to ensure those visiting enjoy their time but leave no trace. The areas are diverse and include everything from beaches, forestry, lochs and some of Scotland’s highest mountains. Visitors will observe a range of local improvements including:

  • Increased infrastructure and signage
  • Friendly, knowledgeable rangers and / or staff on hand to answer any questions or give words of advice

Five pairs of black hiking shoes in a row next to a campervan

6. Regional projects

There is a range of projects being undertaken by partners across the country. They particularly use technology to tackle visitor management challenges and assist visitors. These include:

  • Visit East Lothian’s new app

    This app helps visitors and residents to check how busy destinations are. It works using sensor data captured live from eleven of East Lothian Council’s coastal carparks.

  • National Park Journey Planner

    This pilot project trials a way of providing all the potential travel options for visitors in one place. It will make it easier to research, plan and book a day trip.

  • Whereverly

    Developing a new platform to take data from sensors, this traveltech startup is working with:

    • Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
    • Stirling Council
    • Perth & Kinross Council

     

    These sensors count footfall along with on-the-ground observations added by countryside rangers. This will train an algorithm, predicting crowded areas and times in future. This way, it can offer visitors can alternative suggestions for places to go.

  • Seasonal rangers

    These are being deployed as part of the Highland Council’s visitor management plans. The council’s rangers started work in April and the team will build to at least seventeen rangers by June. Together they work through the high season and into early autumn.

Hikers on a country road with a house and a hill in the background

7. Virtual summits

Cabinet secretaries convened several visitor management summits. The first summit identified the issues and established the need for a strategy and steering group. Follow up have summits checked on the strategy progress. A wide range of partners and stakeholders across Scotland attended these.

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