Chapter 4.2.3 Support climate-friendly businesses

Support sustainable tourism

Adaptation plans and Just Transition plans must more clearly include rural tourism and the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund should be re-targeted to deliver carbon reductions.

UK Govt
Scottish Govt
Local Authorities
Emissions reduction
Behaviour change

The World Tourism Organization defines sustainable tourism as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities”.102

Rural tourism somewhat falls between areas mentioned in Government plans and Committee on Climate Change (CCC) reviews but never really gets fully covered, either adaptation or mitigation. It is recognised by CCC that rural communities are particularly vulnerable to e.g. transport difficulties such as increased landslides. Funding should be put in place to support resilient, lowcarbon infrastructure, particularly transportation.

There is Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) but it is funding car-based infrastructure – ‘sustainable visitor infrastructure at Glencoe’ seems to be car parks and for ‘improved visitor infrastructure along the A82’ the project will ‘improve car parking provision at the Three Sisters.’

Glenshee improvements at least include a charge point and cycle facilities: “replacement of the current toilets… The project will also provide a grey and wastewater disposal point for motorhomes, new cycle facilities and an EV charge point.

But there is little or no investment to introduce renewables or improve grid capacity so that diesel generators can be phased out, or investment into improved public transport options. So the Scottish Government should re-target the RTIF to deliver carbon reductions.

This policy would support jobs, and climate justice for rural communities.

For further information: Letter to Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise

Minister’s response

Version 1.0: September 2023

The contents of this document will be updated on a regular basis.