Now is the time to change

A blog post by Tom Brock

Tom Brock
Chair, Board of Charity Trustees

Posted 08/09/2020

Recent posts

I have long and passionately believed that tourism can be a force for good around the world. It has the potential to benefit communities, wildlife and the environment. However, this can only be achieved if tourism is consistently managed, promoted, and delivered responsibly.

I was delighted that the United Nations recently highlighted that tourism now needs to transform to ensure that it helps to deliver the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and be a key pillar for the conservation of our natural and cultural heritage. The UN rightly states that a more sustainable and inclusive tourism sector is required.

Here in Scotland we have outstanding examples of responsible tourism. However, we need more than examples: going forward, responsibility and sustainability must be at the heart of all tourism businesses.

We need to rethink and reset tourism to ensure that it is valued and respected for delivering real and long-lasting benefits for people and places as well as our wildlife. Scotland has the chance to be a global leader in achieving this. We cannot, and must not, continue as before. It is vital that all tourism businesses improve their environmental sustainability and help to deliver wide ranging benefits for their local community, environment and wildlife. It’s what our visitors and our communities increasingly and rightly expect.

I welcome that VisitScotland has identified the need for Scottish tourism to change and that responsible tourism is at the heart of the new national tourism strategy.

Our focus this year has been on a health pandemic, but unfortunately the climate emergency has not gone away. As Scotland’s largest industry, tourism could and should play a leading role in taking action in the fight against climate change. To help tourism businesses become more environmentally sustainable, I am delighted that the internationally recognised Green Key scheme is coming to Scotland.  This is the leading global environmental accreditation that supports and recognises environmental excellence in tourism and hospitality businesses. Green Key is a UN recognised programme operating in 65 countries worldwide. In Scotland it will be managed by the excellent environmental charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful which has produced a great wee video about the scheme.

Scotland’s tourism industry undoubtedly has tough challenges ahead. However, there are also outstanding opportunities. Now is the time to change.  Let’s ensure that tourism plays a key role in driving Scotland’s green recovery, delivering real benefit across the country socially, culturally and environmentally.

I am optimistic that Scotland’s vital tourism industry can transform and be a major force for good in Scotland’s future.

Find out more about Green Key and how it could help you.

We support the