The Travel Foundation is working with VisitScotland and Scotland’s three economic development agencies on a package of COP26 legacy projects that will further establish Scotland’s tourism sector as a global leader in the race to net zero.
As part of the Destination Net Zero programme, funded through the Scottish Government’s Tourism Recovery Programme and developed by the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG), the projects will accelerate climate action within the sector, while sharing the lessons so that destinations worldwide can also benefit.
It follows on from the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism, launched at COP26, which both VisitScotland and the Travel Foundation helped draft, and which the latter is now delivering in partnership with the UN’s World Tourism Organisation.
Nationally, the Travel Foundation will work with place-making agency TOPOSOPHY to help Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise, VisitScotland and other stakeholders to develop their Destination Net Zero Action Plan. The plan will outline the next phases of support for Scotland’s tourism industry to enable further progress towards net zero.
Regionally, the Travel Foundation will work with VisitScotland and the three enterprise agencies to launch pilot schemes in Glasgow, the Outer Hebrides, and Inverness & Loch Ness to support destinations to develop climate action plans.
Adding a tactical approach, the Travel Foundation and VisitScotland are working with a major tour operator, The Travel Corporation, on a pilot project that will be instrumental in developing a practical sector framework for addressing Scope 3 emissions in tourism – those that occur in the tourism value chain, such as accommodations, ground transport and food production. The Travel Corporation’s Scottish based brands include Haggis Adventures, Highland Explorer Tours and The Skye Inn, in addition to group touring brands such as Contiki, Trafalgar and Insight Vacations and Red Carnation Hotel group, which is opening the 5-star 100 Princes Street in Edinburgh later this year. The Travel Corporation has recently developed an internal carbon calculator that will help with Scope 3 estimates and be integral to setting the group’s carbon reduction targets.
Both pilot projects will be supported by behaviour change experts BehaviorSMART who will recommend innovative ways to “design out” carbon-intensive business practices and customer behaviours.
It is anticipated that the new processes, tools and trainings from each of these projects can be applied across Scotland and will support global efforts, through the Glasgow Declaration initiative, to help travel and tourism organisations plan a pathway towards net zero. The Glasgow Declaration already has support from more than 500 businesses and organisations, including The Travel Corporation which was a launch signatory for the declaration at COP26.
Tourism Minister Ivan McKee said:
“Destination Net Zero will play an important role in helping support Scotland’s tourism sector transition to a low carbon future through globally recognised leadership in responsible, sustainable managed growth.
“Our ambitious climate targets align with our intention for Scotland to be world leading in 21st century tourism as set out in Scotland Outlook 2030, our national tourism strategy.”
Jeremy Sampson, CEO of The Travel Foundation, said:
“Scotland has adopted a leadership role on climate action in tourism, and the work we are doing now will improve understanding of – and hopefully resolve – some of the challenges that all destinations are facing as they plan their transition towards net zero. It is important that other destinations follow in Scotland’s footsteps, and we hope these initiatives will create useful tools, guidance and a way forward.”
Malcolm Roughead OBE, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said:
“As the first national tourism organisation to declare a climate emergency, we have long been committed to leading the development of Scotland as a responsible destination. Climate change is one of the biggest long-term challenges facing the tourism sector. We must take action if we want to preserve and enhance Scotland’s natural and built assets to create an environment which benefits communities, businesses and our visitors. Through the Destination Net Zero programme, we want to support tourism businesses on their journey to net zero. By working together, we can help Scotland become a world-class destination, and the best destination for responsible tourism.”
Shannon Guihan, Chief Sustainability Officer & Head of TreadRight at The Travel Corporation said:
“As we embark on our own ambitious path to reduce our carbon, the need to engage directly with progressive destinations is clear to us. We, as the visitor and Scotland, as the host in this case, can identify practical steps to address our Scope 3 emissions, addressing the challenge from the perspective of supply and demand jointly rather than in our own silos. Our brands such as Haggis Adventures, Highland Explorer Tours, Trafalgar and more are dedicated to operationalising Scotland’s own net zero ambitions.”