In recent times, much has been written about the contribution of air travel to carbon dioxide emissions and the corresponding effects on climate change. This (like virtually all tourism businesses) presents a dilemma for us and we have thought long and hard about what our policy on this issue should be.
Some commentators have suggested that what is required is for all of us to simply give up air travel. In our view, this approach is neither valid nor realistic. It ignores the critically important point that tourism is the world’s single biggest industry and putting an end to all international trade would have disastrous economic and social impacts. It would also have major environmental impacts as ecosystems and habitats, previously protected through tourism activity, would be destroyed for resource gain.
While this may not seem so relevant to the UK, the lifeblood of the Highlands and Islands is tourism (13% of the economy) and its sustainable future depends upon economic success in this sector.
We believe that there is a “middle way”, whereby we can all take significant steps to deliver meaningful action on climate change. In accordance with the advice of The Carbon Trust, our climate change strategy is based upon the following business actions:
- To encourage clients to access the start/end point of our trips by public transport (the meeting point for all of our group holidays is at train stations – for full details on how to get to Scotland by train, please see the Travel to Scotland section.)
- To deliver a low-carbon holiday experience, relating to the activity, transportation, accommodation and other services used.
- To elsewhere reduce our energy consumption and consequent carbon emissions throughout our business, wherever possible.
- To work with all of our suppliers to reduce carbon emissions and to develop new low-carbon products, wherever possible.
- To focus our trips on those parts of Scotland where tourism will deliver positive socio-economic and environmental benefits.
- To financially offset all unavoidable carbon emissions which are generated by the company.
Our hope is that if many businesses, irrespective of the type of industry, choose to adopt the same approach, we can make a significant step towards tackling climate change in a realistic way.