Scotland: It’s not all kilts, whisky, golf, and Mel Gibson in blue face paint – though I did have a surreal moment at the Flattie Bar one night in Stromness watching Braveheart with the locals.
But it’s forgivable if that’s the breadth of your Scotland knowledge; we have popular culture to thank for these generalizations, but all too often they overshadow the complexity and wonder of the real country.
After announcing Traveling Savage’s new focus on Scotland, many readers were excited because Scotland is a place they either know little about or haven’t considered for their own travels. It can be difficult for me to express why I love Scotland as much as I do, so I decided to challenge myself and describe why I’m going to Scotland and you should too.
I hope this post will serve as a reference for new and old readers about the mission and forthcoming content of Traveling Savage. This post has pages – if you’re reading this in your RSS reader, please click over to the site! Use the page links at the bottom to change pages.
Scotland Is Mastering Green Tourism
Scotland is rife with green spaces. Almost 70% of the population live in a lowland belt that includes Edinburgh and Glasgow, and much of the highlands and islands are lightly populated. Thankfully, Scotland and the greater United Kingdom have been prodigious in their efforts to retain its wilderness and natural beauty. The nation has implemented a green tourism business scheme (GTBS) that rewards businesses for adhering to a set of green principles that help protect and bolster the local environment, like conserving natural resources, reducing waste, and supporting the local economy. The GTBS is also linked to VisitScotland, Scotland’s main tourism Web site, which makes it easy to book accommodation and activities with green businesses.
Protecting indigenous species and habitats goes hand-in-hand with reducing the human impact on the environment. In conjunction with VisitScotland and the GTBS, a variety of protective organizations like the Forestry Commission and the Scottish Wildlife Trust are keeping a watchful eye on how tourism interacts with wildlife and natural spaces. I’ve seen the power and effectiveness of this system during my trips to Scotland, and I can’t help but cast a wishful eye toward the United States’ lagging green efforts. I feel comfortable visiting Scotland’s ancient forests, secluded lochs, and cliffs and crags knowing that such a thoughtful system is in place to mitigate the damaging effects of tourism.