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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 29/05/2023

Delivering climate action in tourism

Our chair, Lord Thurso, was at Scotland House Brussels recently. He hosted a stakeholder event: Scotland’s Journey to Net Zero: Delivering Climate Action in Tourism. It demonstrated the action we’ve taken on the road to net zero.

Lord Thurso presented his perspective on the very clear opportunities ahead. As well as the challenges destinations face. He also led a very engaged and constructive Q&A.

We also highlighted the support, advice, and resources we’re providing industry and destinations. This includes our new Climate Action Tool. It helps businesses identify, measure, and reduce their carbon emissions.

The event demonstrated Scotland’s commitment to climate action. It considered the challenges ahead but also the clear opportunities for businesses and communities in Scotland’s ongoing development as a responsible destination.

The event positioned Scotland as a willing partner in tackling the shared challenge of climate change. It generated new contacts and relationships and provided access to insight and good practice.


There were 70 stakeholders at the event. This included:

  • The Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Tourism & Transport Committee
  • Representatives from countries and regions across Europe
  • National, regional and city-level DMOs
  • Directors of tourism networks
  • Sustainability bodies
  • Government representatives
  • UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organisation)
  • Assembly of European Regions

Wider activity during the trip

Meetings were also held with VisitFlanders, which provided useful insight into its strategic approach to building a "flourishing" destination.

We also met with NECSTouR, a network of more than 40 European tourism organisations across Europe. It's committed to sustainable destination development. 

Despite the wide variety of destinations involved, we all share a strong focus. Tourism is a force for good, with responsible development delivering benefits for both the economy and our communities.

It’s been over three years since I last visited Brussels to highlight my ambitions for VisitScotland as a responsible destination with a focus on climate action. It was a real pleasure to be back and, moreover, to be able to showcase that we are indeed walking the walk on the opportunities presented by net zero.

The response that we have received reflects well on VisitScotland and Scotland as a whole and I look forward to seeing how we continue this journey and take forward these valuable relationships.

Lord Thurso, VisitScotland Chairman

The importance of international partnerships

Our vision for responsible growth in tourism means looking both inside Scotland and beyond. International partnerships are important. They allow us to:

  • Showcase our work and that of the tourism industry in Scotland
  • Identify and exchange best practice across a range of topics and areas useful for our own tourism priorities

Scotland is highly regarded globally for its approach to tourism and the wide range of activity being delivered. Not just at VisitScotland, but across the industry. With so many destinations facing similar challenges, we have a real opportunity not just to inspire others but to be inspired in return by some of the great work taking place across the world.

We’ve worked with international partners in a wide range of countries that hold strategically similar ambitions for responsible tourism. This includes Iceland, New Zealand, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Canada. Plus, a variety of regions across Europe.

Scotland is a first-choice destination for quality, value, and authentic memorable experiences. At home, our partnerships continue to build on tourism as a force for good. It’s exciting to spotlight that on the global stage. And at the same time identify how others are taking forward the opportunities in delivering better places to live and visit.




VisitScotland Chair Lord Thurso, with our team at Scotland House Brussels

Pictured: VisitScotland Chair Lord Thurso, Lyn Donnelly, Senior Responsible Tourism Manager and Lee McRonald, International Partnerships Manager at Scotland House Brussels

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