Skip to main content
Visit Scotland | Alba

What is responsible tourism?

Responsible tourism focuses on a collaborative approach for re-building and growing the value of tourism in a way that makes better places for people to live and visit in every corner of Scotland. It maximises the positive benefits of tourism for everyone, including host communities and the environment. 

Our approach to developing responsible tourism in Scotland focuses on four priority areas: 

  1. Supporting Scotland’s transition to a low carbon economy
  2. Ensuring tourism and events in Scotland are inclusive 
  3. Ensuring tourism and events contribute to thriving communities 
  4. Supporting the protection and considerate enjoyment of Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage

Why is responsible tourism important?

Tourism is a force for positive change; it can sustain communities and the economy by creating jobs, tackling depopulation and improving the well-being of everyone who experiences it. 

We have a duty of care to protect our assets for the future. We recognise the importance of protecting those assets, which are so vital to Scotland’s brand and make Scotland so unique. A responsible approach to tourism helps Scotland’s world-famous beauty and communities thrive, enabling good growth while minimising any negative impacts.  

Responsible tourism has a wide range of benefits: providing all visitors with enriching and memorable quality experiences; building business resilience and supporting their success; benefiting and enhancing our communities and the environment, which Scotland relies upon as a destination. 

Responsible tourism and your business

Tourism creates economic and social value in every corner of Scotland, improving the well-being of everyone who experiences it. Tourism makes Scotland economically and socially richer, and without it, Scotland would be a much poorer place. 

As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic ease, the priority is to reset tourism in a responsible way; to work with businesses and communities to ensure that visitors and locals can enjoy Scotland’s tourism assets in a respectful way, while still protecting them for future generations. 

The role of business is key to ensure that tourism in Scotland continues to develop in a more responsible way, whether that is through reducing carbon emissions, developing a more inclusive business, maximising the positive impact on the community or promoting Scotland’s natural and cultural heritage and its responsible enjoyment.  

We're here to help! Throughout this section you will find a wide range of information, top tips and guidance to help your business.  

Other helpful links: 

  • Our Moment for Change webinar on responsible tourism contains lots of information on making Scotland a responsible tourism destination.

  • Innovation insights - our innovation insight papers explore new and evolving trends and consumer expectations developing in tourism today, from consumer demand and business innovations around the world. Find out more in our Trends for tomorrow section.

Latest news