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Visit Scotland | Alba

Why is sustainable tourism important?

Tourism has a unique dependency on quality environments, cultural distinctiveness, social interaction, security and wellbeing. We believe that the success of Scotland’s tourism industry rests on protecting and enhancing the Scottish environment, society and culture, which are vital to the brand, the tourism industry and sustaining Scotland’s economic growth

A sustainable approach to tourism growth is the only way to ensure long-term success of tourism in Scotland.

Visitors benefit from a sustainable approach to tourism through better links with local communities, a high-quality tourism experience and a natural and built environment that is cared for.

Becoming more sustainable can give businesses a competitive edge by generating greater community support for tourism, achieving cost savings and creating new marketing opportunities.

What is sustainable tourism?

  • Greener transport

    Transport is central to tourism, but it also puts pressure on our natural resources and makes a contribution to our global environmental impact. Measures like encouraging visitors to use public transport, and innovations in cleaner forms of transport will help in this area

    Find out about exploring sustainable mobility.

  • Greener businesses

    All businesses work towards being more sustainable, taking a range of actions to reduce their resource use, support their local communities and enhance their customer experience

  • Inclusive tourism

    Inclusive Tourism aims to create products and experiences where everyone feels welcome and included. Examples of some customers who typical benefit from inclusive tourism are customers, such as

    • people with hearing loss
    • visual or mental impairment
    • wheelchair users or older people
    • families with young children. 

    Find out how to get involved in inclusive tourism

  • Even visitor distribution

    A more even spread of visitors reduces pressure on natural and built environments and on communities, and maximises the economic benefits across Scotland. We encourage a spread of visitors throughout the year and around the country through a range of activities

  • Understanding the impacts

    We work with partners to measure the environmental and social impacts of tourism so we can ensure that tourism development brings a positive experience for local people, tourism companies and visitors themselves while protecting the environment we all rely on

Maximising your sustainability

Other reasons to become more sustainable:

  • Increase efficiency and reduce running costs 
  • Ensure we protect and enhance our unique natural environment and cultural heritage
  • Enhance the visitor experience
  • Ensure legal compliance
  • Gain market advantage
  • Support risk and reputation management


Better Business series

There are many actions which are simple and cost little or nothing, that your business can benefit from quickly. Take a look at our Better Business series, created in partnership with Resource Efficient Scotland. 

Better Business - climate change

Published July 2014

Better Business - community engagement

Published July 2014

Better Business - energy

Published July 2014

Better Business - financial support

Published July 2014

Better Business - natural cultural

Published July 2014

Better Business - sustainable management

Published July 2014

Better Business - sustainable marketing

Published July 2014

Better Business - sustainable purchasing

Published July 2014

Better Business - travel

Published July 2014

Better Business - waste management

Published July 2014

Better Business - water

Published July 2014