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Article published 17/11/2022

World’s first UNESCO Trail wins European sustainability award

The world’s first UNESCO Trail that connects 13 unique sites across Scotland has received an international award in recognition of its contribution to sustainable development.

Scotland’s UNESCO Trail received the Santagata Foundation Award for UNESCO Territories 2022 at the RO.ME Museum Exhibition in Rome on 16 November.

The award recognises contribution to sustainable development projects within a UNESCO designated site or community.

Anne Anderson and Laura Davies on video accepting the award on behalf of Scotland’s UNESCO TrailAnne Anderson and Laura Davies on video accepting the award on behalf of Scotland’s UNESCO Trail. Image credit UNESCO.

Wanderlust Travel Awards

Scotland’s UNESCO Trail also received the Wanderlust Sustainability Award at the Wanderlust Travel Awards in London on Tuesday 8 November.

The award celebrates action and innovation for sustainable travel, with the trail receiving a Sustainability Initiative Gold Award in recognition of its responsible tourism principles.

Scotland’s UNESCO Trail

Scotland’s UNESCO Trail, a dedicated digital trail, was launched last year to connect 13 place-based designations across the country, including World Heritage Sites, Biospheres, Global Geoparks and Creative Cities to form a dedicated digital trail.

The trail was designed specifically to support the ambitions of the national strategy to make Scotland a world-leading responsible tourism destination. It encourages visitors to stay longer, visit all year round, make sustainable travel choices, explore more widely and at the right time of the year. This in turn, contributes to the sustainable quality of life of those communities surrounding the designated sites.

Scotland is the first nation in the world to create such a pioneering initiative. It was developed through a unique partnership between VisitScotland, the Scottish Government, the UK National Commission for UNESCO, Historic Environment Scotland, NatureScot, the National Trust for Scotland and Scotland’s 13 UNESCO designations.

It's fantastic to receive this recognition for Scotland’s UNESCO Trail, in particular for the sustainable credentials of this project.

The development of Scotland’s UNESCO Trail has been a great example of collaboration to create a unique visitor experience firmly rooted throughout with responsible tourism ethics.

Across Scotland, these UNESCO designations are local partnerships and communities that protect and promote their outstanding creativity, cultural heritage and the natural environment. The trail aims to inspire visitors from around the world to rediscover Scotland’s unique treasures, know they are travelling sustainably, and contribute to the communities who maintain these precious places.

Professor Anne Anderson, Non-Executive Director at the UK National Commission for UNESCO and VisitScotland Board member

Further information

The full list of designations included in Scotland’s UNESCO Trail are:

  • The Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere
  • Wester Ross UNESCO Biosphere
  • Dundee UNESCO City of Design
  • Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature
  • Glasgow UNESCO City of Music
  • Shetland UNESCO Global Geopark
  • North West Highlands UNESCO Global Geopark
  • The Forth Bridge UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Frontiers of the Roman Empire: Antonine Wall UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • New Lanark UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Heart of Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Old and New Towns of Edinburgh UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • St Kilda World Heritage Site

Read the full press release.

For more information, visit the trail page on our consumer website

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