Understanding the Environmental Impacts of Tourism
There are many positive and negative environmental factors of tourism. Unfortunately, some can cause damage to Scotland's beautiful landscapes, but others are there to help restore greenery and encourage the natural world to thrive. Pay a visit to one of Scotland's many National Nature Reserves which are protected areas of land where wildlife and plantlife can flourish. You can find these reserves all over Scotland, from Hermaness Nature Reserve in the northern corners of Shetland, and Staffa National Nature Reserve on the west coast, to the Isle of May reserve off the coast of Anstruther in Fife.
Or why not join in an educational outdoor activity on your trip to Scotland? Outdoor activities such as bushcraft are all about surviving and thriving in the natural environment, and using knowledge and skills that have been in existence for many thousands of years. Learn about specific plant species and why they grow in certain environments, how to tell the difference between species and how to identify them, how to forage safely, and much more.
Whilst you're out exploring all that Scotland has to offer, it is important to be respectful of the areas and landscapes you are visiting. Popular destinations will naturally see more visitors but this can cause harmful impact to the land. For example, scenic walking trails and routes are often damaged by walkers exploring off the waymarked paths, which causes surrounding flora and fauna to be trampled on. Stick to signposted trails and admire the views around you.
It is also crucial that you do not disturb the surrounding landscapes as many areas are home to wildlife habitats and rare or protected plantlife species.
- Avoid tampering with sticks and don't break branches off of trees.
- Don't lift stones from the ground and place elsewhere.
- Avoid building fires as these can easily get out of control and damage the landscape.
Remember to read up on, and follow, the Scottish Outdoor Access Code before you explore Scotland.
Responsible tourism holidays in Scotland
There are many ways you can enjoy a sustainable and eco-friendly holiday in Scotland, without missing out on all the fun and adventure! Embark on a conservation holiday where you can learn all about Scotland's landscapes and what you can do to help restore and protect them through eco-friendly tourism activities.
Maybe you'd prefer a back to nature break? Snuggle into an eco-friendly glamping pod, or enjoy the outdoors with a camping break, both are great ways to explore sustainable accommodation options in Scotland. Another way would be to stay at local B&Bs or family-run cottages and lodges, rather than big chain hotels.
Transport is a big way to be a more sustainable traveller too. Public transport emits less pollution than if we all travelled around in our own cars or vehicles. Scotland's public transport options are great for scooting around the country, even to our most remote locations. From efficient trains and frequent bus and coach services, to ferries and electric car hire options, there are more sustainable ways to travel than you think.