VisitScotland is behind the launch of a new responsible tourism campaign to raise awareness of the importance of exploring the outdoors responsibly. The organisation is calling for hikers, runners, cyclists and all outdoors fans to leave no trace of their visit and to protect Scotland’s stunning countryside.
The aim is to counteract some of the issues seen as a result of a new, home-grown audience of visitors who have been discovering and enjoying Scotland’s countryside more recently.
The campaign, worth ££124,000, asks people to respect, protect and enjoy Scotland.
A responsible tourism film and script will be broadcast across radio, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, alongside billboard and outdoor digital screen advertising in Scotland’s cities.
This work will be supported by a dedicated responsible tourism page on visitscotland.com, as well as itineraries created for the travel trade and information and advice for the tourism sector.
Planning ahead for holiday season
With more people enjoying the outdoors as the weather improves and the plan for lockdown restrictions to be lifted towards the end of April, VisitScotland’s campaign will reinforce the importance that visitors should be aware of the consequences of activities such as countryside walks, wild camping, wildlife watching and more.
Vicki Miller, director of marketing and digital at VisitScotland, said: "This campaign is hugely important particularly at this time, as we are all enjoying outdoors more due to restrictions to other sections of the tourism industry.
" It is imperative that we realise the impact of our visits on these areas and our individual and collective responsibility to care for Scotland.
“We want to protect the stunning landscapes and wildlife that Scotland is famous for and the local communities that are such an important part of our culture.
"We are asking everyone to help keep Scotland special by ensuring we protect our natural resources by being responsible and respectful when out and about."
The campaign will address issues such as:
Littering – dropping and leaving litter, leaving camping equipment, broken glass
Environmental damage and fire hazards – damaging fences and signage; lighting fires in unauthorised locations or in unsafe ways, felling trees, damaging surrounding wildlife and risking spread of wildfires
Unsafe waste disposal – people not using designated toilets or appropriate facilities and leaving waste outdoors
Poor preparation – a lack of understanding of rapid weather change and challenging terrains, sometimes resulting in visitors getting into trouble or requiring assistance.
Traffic and inappropriate parking - increased demand on hotspots, parking in passing places or areas that are not safe or block access to land managers or residents.
See the responsible tourism film:
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Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favorite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing (both downhill and backcountry). Aside from her own adventures, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy getting outside and exploring, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.