Programme offers support to tourism on journey to low-carbon future

Published: 29/10/2021

A programme, worth almost £4m, to support Scotland’s tourism industry on the journey to net zero is getting underway as the country prepares to host the world’s largest climate conference.


Destination Net Zero will provide support to tourism businesses and destinations as they transition to a greener, more sustainable future. 


A key strand in the Scottish Government’s COVID-19 Tourism Recovery Programme, the initiative includes the creation of a website offering practical advice for businesses when moving to low-carbon, an awareness-raising programme promoting net zero as good business and funding support, due to be announced later this year, for up to 250 businesses and at least two destinations to invest in carbon reduction activity.  


Another key piece of activity will be industry research to identify current attitudes and behaviour towards a net zero economy, as well as opportunities to successfully encourage action and measurement of progress over the coming years. 


The programme is being delivered on behalf of the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) by Scottish Enterprise (SE), VisitScotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), South of Scotland Enterprise (SoSE) and partners.    


It includes: 


  • The rebuild of the Fair Isle Bird Observatory – The development has received almost £200,000 worth of net zero funding which will go towards creating a new, sustainable and energy efficient building, using power from the island’s community-owned renewable energy grid as well as from the building’s own solar panels.


  • Transformation of Nevis Range–With the project including plans to create a new hotel and bunkhouse, the Lochaber mountain resort has received £500,000 to help ensure that the facilities will be built in as low carbon a way as possible to help with its continuing journey to net zero.  


  • Re-charge in Nature– a nature-based tourism recovery project, led by NatureScot which seeks to encourage more people to engage with nature and learn about the impact of climate change while recharging their EV or cycling or using an E-bike. The project seeks to present integrated information profiling existing charging infrastructure and nature- based experiences close by. 


  • Hospitality Net Zero - working in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Enterprise. This is a pilot project aimed at businesses within the Glasgow City region. Working in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, this project encourages SME hospitality businesses to focus on food waste reduction, providing consultation and support to achieve this. 


Environmental change is the biggest long-term challenge facing the tourism and events sector, with the climate crisis already impacting many aspects of the natural environment that has made Scotland such a popular destination for visitors. 


By taking action on climate change, tourism businesses can not only reduce costs and build resilience, but they can also attract new customers by meeting the increasing demand from visitors for responsible and sustainably focused experiences.  


Minister for Tourism Ivan McKee said: “The Destination Net Zero Programme, formally known as Net Zero Pathway for Scotland, aims to support Scotland’s tourism sector to transition to a low carbon future through globally recognised leadership in responsible, sustainable managed growth - to be a leader in 21st century tourism.  


“This funding is part of a wider £25 million package of support, that will reap benefits for all of Scotland’s tourism industry as we move towards slower, greener and more sustainable tourism.”


Rob Dickson, Chair of the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG), said“Tackling climate change is the biggest long-term challenge facing Scottish tourism but we must continue to do everything possible to address that challenge now. We want to inspire future generations to say that Scottish tourism led the way and made a difference. We must take an ambitious stand on climate change if we want to preserve and enhance Scotland’s natural and built assets – creating an environment which benefits communities, businesses and our visitors.   

“The Destination Net Zero programme will kickstart a new movement of change, supporting the industry to take decisive action to secure its future prosperity. The programme consists of research to discover where businesses are now, advice on taking climate action, and funding to support our businesses and destinations to transition to a future of net zero emissions, building their resilience and aligning with Scottish Government targets. 

“We’re asking the industry to prioritise responsible and sustainable growth. By working together, we can help Scotland on its journey to become a world-class destination, and the best destination for responsible tourism. 

For more information about Destination Net Zero, visit: visitscotland.org/net-zero 

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