SNP Highlight Sustainable Tourism Goldmine For Edinburgh And Lothians

13 September 2005
"The world will beat a path to our door"

SNP MEP Alyn Smith has been promoting Scottish experience in nurturing sustainable tourism, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. Mr Smith highlighted the millions of pounds Scotland could gain in tourism revenues if sustainable tourism schemes were more widely promoted.

Speaking in a debate on a report on promoting sustainable tourism across the EU, Mr Smith stated:

"Mr President, I rise briefly to offer you some Scottish experience, particularly in relation to paragraph 36 on the need for eco- labelling in sustainable tourism. In Scotland we have been operating such a scheme for some years now. The Green Tourism Business Scheme is operated on behalf of Visit Scotland by a commercial - though not-for-profit - company. It promotes sustainability, provides practical advice to businesses and provides a level playing field, a certification to ensure consistent quality among its 500 member businesses, all of which are good-quality tourist attractions. I believe it is a model that would work very well when rolled out to other countries across Europe. I believe it has much to commend it.

"A tourist industry focused on sustainability will focus automatically on quality, which is ultimately what the consumer in this modern age demands. In Scotland we have had some success in this, although we also have some lessons to learn from it. This report provides a framework for the sharing of best practice and it has our full support."

Speaking after the debate Mr Smith said:

"Sustainable tourism is already a reality in Edinburgh and Lothians, and I want to see more of it. With great attractions like the Scottish Seabird Centre at North Berwick, Crichton Castle at Pathhead as well as dozens of others we know that we already have the attractions, what we need to see is more energy put into promoting them at every level, especially abroad. Tourism is already a major industry in Edinburgh and the Lothians and it could go from strength to strength. I will be doing my part to identify whatever support from Brussels I can find and bring it home."