Responsible tourism is at the heart of a new initiative to deepen the understanding of crofting during the holiday period. The Crofting Commission have produced an informative leaflet to educate visitors about crofting and encouraging them to be considerate of the environment and local communities during their stay. This has been prompted by high numbers of tourists to the region this year and discussions with Scottish Crofting Federation about the impacts this has on crofters.
According to a recent report on the future of tourism by Booking.com – the world’s leading travel site – 56% of people booking a holiday are looking to seek out more rural, off-the-beaten-track experiences to immerse themselves into the outdoors. In addition, impact on the environment and a more eco-conscious mindset is expected to be adopted in 2021 and beyond.
Mairi Mackenzie, Vice Convenor, said that the great Scottish outdoors is there for everyone to enjoy, but it’s important to encourage visitors to do so responsibly so that both parties benefit and enjoy the busy period.
“There’s currently a growing trend for responsible and eco-conscious tourism as a market. It comes as no surprise that people will flock to the Highlands and other crofting areas, to reset and recharge after a challenging 18-months.”
“And while our roads and villages will become busier, this is also a great opportunity for visitors to connect with crofting and learn about the important role it plays in enhancing the social, cultural, economic and environmental fabric of Scotland.”
Donald MacKinnon, Chair of the Scottish Crofting Federation, said that he is looking forward to welcoming visitors into crofting communities.
“For many crofting communities, the summer holidays play an important part in the economic viability of an area, with more money coming into the local cafes, pubs and shops. But crofting areas are also working landscapes, and visitors need to respect that aspect as well.
“Enjoying crofting and our rural areas responsibly can be as simple as ensuring gates are shut, parking in the appropriate place, picking up and disposing of litter correctly, and keep dogs on a lead.”
The new leaflet informs visitors about the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and how they can meet the three core principles which are: care for the environment, respect the interests of others and be responsible for your own actions. It also covers the social, economic, environmental and cultural importance of crofting in Scotland.
To access the Crofting Commission leaflet, head to www.crofting.scotland.gov.uk/news/.
 Booking.com Report on the Future of Travel, published in 2020\; https://globalnews.booking.com/smarter-kinder-safer-bookingcom-reveals-nine-predictions-for-the-future-of-trave