Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

MSP calls for new research into impact of tourism

John Finnie MSP
John Finnie MSP

A north MSP has called for an independent study into the social and environmental impact of tourism in Scotland.

John Finnie, the Scottish Green Party’s spokesman on tourism, said issues involving some irresponsible tourists are not new but have been “perhaps magnified” by stay-cations prompted by coronavirus.

In a letter to Rural Economy and Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing, Mr Finnie said the economic impact of the sector is well documented, but the social and environmental impacts are less understood.

He wants a full public consultation and the report to cover the economic, housing, education, transport, planning, trading standard, public health and environmental impact of tourism.

Mr Finnie said it is understandable that the bad behaviour of a number of visitors to the Highlands has created community anxiety, and in many instances anger, as lockdown eases.

He said: “Whether it’s the disrespect for the Commando Memorial, the cutting down of tress for camp fires or the reckless disposal of human waste, some visitors have made communities across the Highland and Islands anxious and, in many cases, angry.

“All of these issues require to be robustly dealt with by local authorities and the police now and a clear signal given about what responsible tourism means.”

He said he strongly welcomes the support the Scottish Government has given to the tourist sector, during the pandemic, often making business-saving interventions.

“However, whilst the economic impact of Scotland’s important tourism sector is well documented, the social and environmental impacts of tourism are much less understood.

“This isn’t an exclusively rural issue. The implications of the non-availability of year-round, affordable rented accommodation, due to short term lets, applies equally to the north of Mull and Edinburgh’s Old Town.

“If we are to see informed policy decision-making we need to fully understand impacts.”

Mr Finnie believes the research would help get the “balance right” for communities.

He added: “Scotland is not a theme park or some living museum.

“My view is we’re well short of understanding what we’re actively encouraging and that seems reckless.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The majority of people visiting Scotland’s scenic sights do so responsibly and this brings huge economic benefits to Scotland’s rural communities. However we are absolutely clear visitors should respect the local communities and areas they are visiting.

“It is precisely because of Scotland’s stunning environment and natural assets that people wish to explore our great outdoors – and we need to keep it that way.”

She said the government is aware of “completely unacceptable” incidents of littering, antisocial behaviour and damage to the environment since lockdown began to ease.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]