Ecotourism in Scotland: Opportunities, Challenges and EU Standards

Seminar and panel discussion

Thursday February 28, 2013

This event was organised by Edinburgh Napier University in association with UHI Centre for Mountain Studies and SCRR. The attendees included representatives of various Scottish government agencies, consultants, private businesses, researchers and non-government organisations.

The speakers included:

  • Dr. Kathy Velander, Edinburgh Napier University, on the European Ecotourism Labelling Standard and the ECOLNET project
  • Dr. Peter Varley, West Highland College, UHI, Fort William, on slow adventure tourism
  • Mr. Duncan Bryden, Bryden Associates, Tomatin on the value of nature based tourism to Scotland
  • Dr. Jayne Glass, Centre for Mountain Studies, Perth College, UHI, on land management standards and their application to ecotourism
  • Mrs. Wilma Finlay, Cream o’Galloway, Gatehouse of Fleet, on the past and future of their business

The meeting covered opportunities for and standards relating to ecotourism in Scotland, as well as the challenges facing individuals currently involved in tourism and ecotourism.

The role of the European Ecotourism Labelling Standard in supporting sustainable tourism was discussed with particular reference to the Evaluation Tool and supporting learning material.

The economic importance of wildlife tourism to Scotland was highlighted as well the potential for ‘slow’ activity tourism as an expanding market.

The five principles for sustainable estate management were presented along with details of Wildlife Estates Scotland (WES), an organisation of Scottish landowners committed to managing their estates in line with biodiversity conservation and delivering multiple benefits to rural communities.

Finally issues related to developing a tourism business were highlighted including the need to meet ever-changing customer demands.

The panel discussion enabled further exploration of the topics addressed during the seminar including how best to expand and support ecotourism in Scotland including sustainable business development and specific health and safety issues relevant to ecotourism. A follow-on meeting was proposed for the autumn of 2013.

Venue: Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, High School Yards, Edinburgh