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Article published 07/07/2022

Improving everyone’s experience of the outdoors

Working with our partners, we’ve been delivering Scotland’s visitor management plan with a series of initiatives and campaigns to improve everyone’s experience of the outdoors this year.

Underneath the national Visitor Management Steering Group sit three subgroups who cover ongoing workstreams, helping to educate audiences to enjoy Scotland responsibly and tackle key visitor management issues such as water safety, wildlife disturbance and waste management.

Education and Marketing Group

Chaired by VisitScotland, the Education and Marketing Group’s role is to develop and deliver public-facing communications to promote sustainable tourism and responsible behaviour.

Coordinating messaging to ensure a joined-up approach across activity has been an important part of this work.

Keep Scotland Unspoiled

Our Keep Scotland Unspoiled campaign will run through to September thanks to an additional £100,000 of funding.

This campaign extension will include further social media influencer work to cover key visitor management themes for authentic messaging to key audiences.

Reactive social media adverts will be activated based on external conditions such as weather, holidays, reported issues and incidents, offering timely tactical messages.

Scottish Outdoor Access Code

The campaign complements NatureScot’s Scottish Outdoor Access Code (SOAC) awareness raising campaign which has recently focused on new outdoor users and dog owners.

They’re also engaging with schools to promote SOAC, working with teachers to help future generations enjoy the outdoors responsibly.

Cairngorms National Park

Cairngorms National Park is also running a visitor campaign, seeking to target audiences they don’t usually reach particularly via Instagram and Facebook.

The activity takes a positive approach – understanding many people want to do the right thing but may not have much experience of the outdoors.

Operational Group

The Operational Group aims to coordinate local visitor management on the ground, particularly in hotspot areas.

The group’s members, including Police Scotland, Scottish Water and others, have been preparing for the summer season with a series of practical, on the ground measures.

These include development of static and mobile signage, to cover key issues and be reactive to situations as they arise.

This group particularly focuses on monitoring and sharing experiences to identify the most prevalent incidents and inform a collaborative approach to managing hotspots, including reviewing the nature and volume of issues being reported by personnel such as rangers or police.

This year has seen recruitment of 200 seasonal rangers through NatureScot Better Places Fund including at hotspots Loch Ness, The Hermitage, Balmedie Country Park and Gladhouse reservoir.

This is in addition to locally supported ranger schemes such as those in the Highlands. Read more on the Seasonal Access Rangers in the Highlands.

Co-ordination group

The role of Co-ordination group is to facilitate coordinated implementation of the strategy, monitor progress and lead on areas requiring technical input.

This group also works to feedback any on the ground trends to the marketing group, ensuring activity is responsive to prevailing issues.

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