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Working together to improve the outdoor experience

Malcolm Roughead VisitScotland

By Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive and Chair of Scotland’s Visitor Management Steering Group

As we welcome the start of Spring and warmer weather, visitors and Scots alike will be drawn to outdoor sites across the country. Our natural assets have earned us countless accolades and global acclaim, and as we have seen with the success of the recent BBC Wild Isles series, continue to captivate and inspire visitors.

However, with this abundance of nature comes a shared sense of responsibility to respect and protect this for future generations to also enjoy.
Since 2021, VisitScotland and a network of national and regional partners have been working together to develop a strategic and collaborative approach to visitor management in Scotland.

This was borne out of growing concern around an increase in irresponsible behaviour in a number of locations during the pandemic as more people holidayed at home, including water-related incidents and fatalities, human-caused wildfires and disturbance of wildlife by dogs.

This coalition aims to help readdress the balance between visitors and communities, while protecting and preserving our natural surroundings.

This has largely involved inspiring and educating visitors and residents on how to enjoy the outdoors responsibly across our collective marketing, press and social media activity.

VisitScotland’s 2022 campaign, Keep Scotland Unspoiled built on this further tackling key issues such as water safety, campfires and parking working with some of the country’s top content creators to get these important messages before a younger audience.

The campaign delivered 120 million opportunities to see or hear content, 12 million video views and 3.8 million engagements on social media. Our partners amplified this with their own campaigns. Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park’s water safety Facebook content received 600,000 views alone. Meanwhile, Ramblers Scotland’s videos produced with young people achieved over 2 million views.

Combined with on-the-ground measures including the recruitment of seasonal rangers funded by the Scottish Government and use of real time data to monitor and predict visitor numbers at key sites this had a cumulative impact.

Forestry and Land Scotland reported 23% decrease in campfires at Roseisle Forest in Moray, there was 28% increase in the number of ranger boat patrols at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and Cairngorms National Park saw a 27% increase in dogs on leads.

As we look ahead to this year, a great deal of work is already underway.

The Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) which VisitScotland manage on behalf of the Scottish Government continues to improve visitor experiences in rural areas. Most recently supporting footpath improvements at Old Man of Storr on Skye and a new car and coach park in Dornoch on the NC500.

Scottish Government funding is supporting the recruitment of seasonal rangers and campaigns are in place by partners including NatureScot, Traffic Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service aimed at helping people enjoy Scotland safely and responsibly.

VisitScotland’s Keep Scotland Unspoiled campaign will be back with a focus on fires and disposable BBQs, camping and wildlife disturbance, with an expansion of social media and influencer activity.

However, we can’t do this alone. Whether Scotland is your home, or you are visiting we all have a shared responsibility to care for our landscapes and wildlife and in doing so improve everyone’s experience of the outdoors. Let’s keep Scotland special, enjoy it responsibly.


Working together to improve the outdoor experience

Asset type post
ID 138143
Word count 574 words


Licence Editorial A Licence to use assets for editorial purposes, which is, to illustrate an event or story in an article but not commercially such as marketing a product or print ad. An Editorial asset may show a brand, a trademarked logo or product, a public personality, or recognisable people, without a signed release or with limited releases. When you use VisitScotland Editorial content you do so to illustrate Scottish tourism in a positive way.
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Usage Editorial content can be published in a variety of formats ranging from print or digital to online. In print content can be featured in *newspapers *magazines *brochures. Online content can be published in a *blog *website *article or *social media. Regardless of the format this content should always promote Scotland’s tourism in a positive way.