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    climate in scotland

    Climate Change

    Making Positive Changes

    Climate change is happening now and we are committed to being part of the solution. The simple fact is that we all produce too much carbon than our planet can manage, so we are on a mission to reduce our emissions year on year.

    In January 2020 we were one of the founding signatories to Tourism Declares a Climate Change Emergency, committing to a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. Since signing the declaration, we have chosen to go further by adopting science-based emission reduction targets, with the aim of achieving “True” Net Zero status by 2030. You can read more about what this means on our Carbon Footprint page.

    The dilemma for tourism is very challenging. On one hand, travel and tourism contribute to 8% of total global carbon emissions (for context, transportation contributes 15% and agriculture 11%). On the other hand, it is the world’s largest employer, redistributing wealth, reducing poverty, providing social mobility while helping to protect the natural and cultural heritage around the world.

    Taking aim at aviation, some climate activists suggest that one solution is to stop flying altogether, viewing this as a frivolous luxury the planet cannot afford. In our view, this is one-dimensional, and an end to international tourism reliant on air travel would be counter-productive condemning many countries to poverty and threatening those very ecosystems which are critical to mitigating the effects of climate change.

    However, change is necessary and urgent. Our simple manifesto for 21st-century tourism seeks to address the negative impacts of tourism on climate change while ensuring the many positive benefits continue.

    1. Fly Less

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    In the past two decades, we have become very accustomed to an age of cheap flights, where a weekend in Prague was actually cheaper than a weekend in Edinburgh.

    This is a behaviour that has to change among developed nations. We need to be thinking about taking fewer trips, be that for leisure or business purposes and if we are going to travel, let’s think about staying closer to home more often and taking the train wherever we possibly can. Hopefully, governments around the world will help us by levelling up the price differential between air and train travel, encouraging us all to choose a more carbon-friendly mode of travel.

    2. Stay Longer

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    Of course, we can’t take the train everywhere and longer-haul travel will always depend upon flying. So, if are going to fly we would encourage you to stay longer. Rather than 3 holidays of 1 week, consider 1 incredible holiday of 3 weeks or even 2 weeks with your second holiday within your own country. These longer trips offer the chance to slow down and see the world as a visitor, rather than simply a tourist with a bucket list to check.

    3. Make it Count

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    If you are going to fly, we would encourage you to make your travel count. Support those destinations and companies which are working hard to reduce their impacts and maximise the positive benefits of sustainable tourism.

    There are many ways you can be a more responsible traveller. Stay longer, choose local where possible, opt for low carbon activities like hiking and paddling over motorised sightseeing and prioritise those destinations and companies which are working hard to reduce their impacts on climate change and maximise the positive benefits of sustainable tourism.

    Before booking your next holiday consider asking your travel company, airline or hotel what they are doing to be a more sustainable business.


    Learn more about Wilderness Scotland’s commitment to sustainable tourism.

    Find Out More

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