Scottish Government’s response to my “Green Tourism” article

Business Directorate
Tourism and Major Events Division
T: 0131-472 2145
Dr Haroon Junaidi
Fife College
Via email to

Your ref:
Our ref: 2013/0023693
27 September 2013
Dear Dr Junaidi

Thank you for your email of 16 September to the Minister for Environment and Climate
Change and your article, which he found most interesting. (Can I add that I was also very
taken by the phrase “eco enthusiasts”).

Certainly the demand for “green tourism”, as you describe it in your article, has become
more of an issue in the past few years – in a good way for Scotland and the Scottish tourism
industry. 11 per cent of visitors surveyed in the VisitScotland 2011 Visitor Survey chose
Scotland as a destination because it has ”a good reputation in sustainable tourism”. 7 per
cent of visitors surveyed in the same VisitScotland 2011 Visitor Survey chose to stay in
accommodation with “green credentials”.

As well as supporting the industry in their moves towards “Sustainable Tourism”, the Scottish
Government, and our public bodies, have been working to develop a range of eco-friendly
measures – not just to offset carbon but to draw “eco enthusiasts”.

The first example that springs to mind is the roll-out of electric bikes in the Cairngorms
National Park. The Cairngorms E-Bike Project not only allows hire of electric bikes from a
number of sites, and a network of free charge points, it also puts cycling within the grasp of
many who perhaps felt they could no longer manage a standard pedal-cycle.

Privately run attractions can also bolster their “eco” credentials by use of renewable energy –
e.g. “Cream o’ Galloway” in Dumfries and Galloway. I understand that their visitor centre has
c. 70,000 visitors every year. The Finlays (who own the attraction) and manufacture icecream,
are developing a new dairying system for which will include an anaerobic digester
which will reduce their farm’s Greenhouse Gas emissions and also generate electricity and
hot water to help them achieve their target of having 40 per cent of their electricity generated
from on-farm renewable sources.

Certainly, whilst not yet on the “Planet Solar” scale you described in the article, we have
seen the recent launch of the “MV Hallaig” ferry. This is the first of two cutting edge ‘hybrid’
ferries, which will each accommodate 150 passengers and 23 cars (or two HGVs) with a
service speed of nine knots.

The vessel will be powered by small diesel generator sets, feeding power to a 400 volt
switchboard. Innovative new ‘green’ technology, including battery banks, supply a minimum
of 20 per cent of the energy consumed on board. In addition the battery banks can provide
power to operate the vessel during sections of the voyage. The ferries are designed for use
on many of the short crossing routes around the Clyde and Hebrides, with the Hallaig
serving communities on Skye and Raasay this season.

In line with the aspirational model you mentioned in your article, these ferries will charge
overnight while they are moored on the islands they will serve. It is anticipated future energy
from local wind, wave or solar systems will be used to charge the batteries, reducing further
the carbon footprint.

All of this, of course, is complementary to the recent work announced on “Switched on
Scotland: A Roadmap to widespread adoption of Plug-In Vehicles”. That roadmap sets out a
vision that by 2050, Scotland’s towns, cities and communities will be free from the damaging
effects of petrol and diesel fumes – which will further bolster our attraction as a tourist
destination in general.

In closing then, I did note your line that “it is a county where tourism and renewable energy
are often seen not going hand in hand” Can I assure you that the Scottish Government does
see a clear synergy between renewables and tourism, and are working actively to make the
most of all the assets that Scotland has to offer.

Thank you for taking the time to pass on the article. If there are any queries or comments,
please do not hesitate to contact me.
Yours sincerely

Richard Walsh

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