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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


Visitor management strategic framework for Scotland

Published March 2021

Visitor management strategy action plan

Published May 2024

The strategy and its implementation is overseen by the strategy steering group that we chair. Other members are:

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

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

Education and marketing

  • develop and deliver public-facing communications to promote sustainable tourism and responsible behaviour
  • communicate with stakeholders about the strategy


  • co-ordinate local visitor management on the ground, particularly in hotspot areas


  • facilitate coordinated implementation of the strategy
  • monitor progress (including maintaining the action log)
  • lead on areas requiring particular technical input

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

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

1. Marketing activity

Working with partners, we helped lead on a coordinated approach to make people aware about responsible tourism. Building on our experience of previous years, this resulted in the campaign Keep Scotland Unspoiled.

Keep Scotland Unspoiled used social media, local radio and digital marketing. It aimed 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 used humour to convey our key messaging. We also ensured we set 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 also worked with some of Scotland’s top travel influencers. They created content for their channels themed around the key topics.

More information about Keep Scotland Unspoiled.

2. Media toolkit

We created a dedicated a free media toolkit with films, images, content, and more. The tourism industry (business and stakeholders) can use it across their own social media activity and marketing.

It contains a wide range of useful content related to responsible tourism, such as:

  • camping
  • fire safety
  • litter
  • motorhoming
  • outdoor access
  • responsible dog walking
  • water safety

Browse our media toolkit.

3. Infrastructure and resource

Agencies and local authorities worked in partnership to address the issues on the ground.

This included long-term strategic planning and permanent infrastructure developments alongside immediate measures. Some of these were temporary infrastructure and the provision of additional rangers.

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

We also delivered the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund with Scottish Government. It addressed the pressures on infrastructure and negative impacts on local communities due to a rise in visitors to these areas.

24 strategic tourism infrastructure development plans were also developed across rural Scotland. These also helped to inform the priorities for the rural tourism infrastructure fund over the last couple of years.

Read more about the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

4. Management at key hotspots

Our partner agencies made visitor experiences as enjoyable and positive as possible with a focus on key hotspots. In 2022, the same approach was adopted in the following locations:

  • Arisaig & Morar
  • Cairngorms National Park
  • East Lothian Coastline
  • Galloway Forest Park
  • Highland Perthshire
  • Loch Ken
  • Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
  • National Nature Reserves
  • North and Northwest Highlands, including the North Coast 500
  • Pentland Hills Regional Park

These parts of Scotland faced visitor management challenges. So, they 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 experienced 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

5. 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 Council’s 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
    • Perth & Kinross Council
    • Stirling 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 were 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.

Related links