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Sustainable Tourism in Scotland
Scotland is renowned for its outstanding natural beauty, iconic landscapes and breathtaking wilderness. We are proud of our country and want to help preserve its natural environment and local cultures for future generations to enjoy.
Right from the start back in 2001, we have always had a strong commitment to sustainable and environmentally friendly tourism. We make great efforts to minimise the environmental impact of our operations whilst supporting the communities we visit in our famous Wee Red Buses:
- All the Wee Red Buses are modern fuel-efficient vehicles to minimise their environmental impact. No bus is more than 3 years old and all have a Euro 6 compliant engine.
- All the Wee Red Buses carry a maximum of 16 passengers to ensure our groups leave a ‘light footprint’ on the environment and communities we visit.
- We have one centrally located departure point to avoid contributing to city centre congestion and pollution levels. There is easy access to all forms of public transport.
- We use locally owned and run accommodation on our extended tours, in doing so we support local employment and communities.
- We do not take commission from our accommodation providers.
- We encourage our passengers to support local shops, restaurants and businesses.
- We are passionate about keeping Scotland clean and tidy. We carry recycled bags on our buses and have a zero litter policy.
- We operate a ‘leave-no-trace’ policy for both our guides and passengers and adhere to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
- We provide Eco-driving training to improve fuel efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint.
At the office
- We recycle all paper, cans, glass, plastic, uniforms and re-use where possible.
- Lost property is donated to charities after 6 months.
- We monitor and reduce all our energy use and waste production.
- We use low energy lighting and switch appliances off when not in use.
- We use recycled paper and ink cartridges.
- Our office is in a central location so that staff can easily use public transport, cycle or walk to work.
- We review the environmental policy of our operations on a regular basis and constantly work towards improving it.
- We provide training for our employees to help facilitate our sustainable tourism policy.
- We make our customers aware of our environmental policy and provide information on how they can participate (see below).
John Muir Trust
We are proud to support the John Muir Trust. The Trust is a Scottish conservation charity dedicated to protecting and developing wild land. They own and care for some of Europe’s finest wild landscapes including several we visit on our tours, Ben Nevis, Schiehallion and Quinag mountains and part of the Cuillin on the Isle of Skye. We encourage passengers to donate and/or join the Trust in addition to our own annual donation, fund raising and staff volunteering days.
Green Tourism Business Scheme
We have been awarded Bronze on the Green Tourism Business Scheme for our commitment to the environment. The scheme is the largest and most established sustainable certification programme in the world. In choosing a green certification business, you are choosing a business which is positively working towards being sustainable, one which is accountable and genuine in its approach. This means minimising energy waste and water resources used as well as celebrating positive aspects of our culture and ecology.
We have joined the Ecostars sustainable transport scheme obtaining a 3 star certificate. Ecostars is a European-wide voluntary scheme to provide recognition and guidance on environmental best practice to operators of goods vehicles, buses and coaches. The scheme recognises operational and environmental performance and aims to reduce the energy used by all types of transport fleets by encouraging more efficient operations in reducing fuel costs and emissions.
How can you help?
You’ll be happy to know that coaches (including the Wee Red Buses) emit less carbon and other harmful greenhouse gases per passenger than any other form of motor transport. So in travelling with us you are already saving energy but here are some tips on how you can help us reduce your carbon footprint more:
Travel – Use public transport before and after your tour: www.travelinescotland.com
Save water – Use the minimum amount of water needed for a shower/bath, don’t let water run while shaving, brushing or washing, and check if your hostel or B&B has a linen reuse program – if so, reuse your towels, if not, request staff not to change them every day.
Energy – Please turn off lights when you leave the room and close windows when the heating is on.
Nature – Respect nature and wildlife by not littering, guarding against fire and using footpaths responsibly. All of our guides are trained in ‘leave no trace’ and will help you follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code: www.outdooraccess-scotland.com
Shop local – Use local products and services. They’ll give you a flavour of the area and help support the local community.
Reduce, reuse, recycle – Try to avoid overly packaged goods and say no to that extra carrier bag (they cost 5p each in Scotland). Reuse your water bottles. Recycle any waste you have. Ask your guide about the local recycling facilities.
Green Tourism Business Scheme – Look out for the symbol and please support those businesses that are working to reduce their carbon footprint. The award is open to visitor attractions, activity providers, accommodation providers, restaurants and other businesses.