Destination Net Zero Pilots

With these two related initiatives, the Travel Foundation is supporting Scotland to be a leading destination in terms of climate action planning.

Creating a long-lasting sustainable tourism destination

Partners: VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise. Lead project partner: TOPOSOPHY

VisitScotland was the first national tourism organisation to become a signatory of Tourism Declares a Climate Emergency and was part of the drafting committee for the Glasgow Declaration on climate action. It is now working towards a target of net zero emissions.

In partnership with Toposophy, The Travel Foundation will be supporting Scottish Enterprise, which represents VisitScotland and its agencies, in the development of a practical delivery plan to achieve this goal.

The Destination Climate Action Planning Project

Partners: VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise

As well as working at the national level on an overall strategy, we will also be will launching pilot schemes in Glasgow, the Outer Hebrides, and Inverness & Loch Ness, supporting these three destinations (chosen with the aim of representing different tourism types and contexts) to produce their initial climate action plans. We will help build resilience for their communities and local stakeholders, while accelerating their progress towards a net zero tourism future.

Through undertaking this pilot programme, the longer-term aim is to establish the process, tools, and required resources for scaling it up across Scotland, and later globally.

Expected Outcomes

Working with Toposophy and Scottish Enterprise:

  • A Destination Net Zero action plan for Scotland

Working with three Scottish destinations:

  • Initial climate action plans developed for three Scottish destinations
  • Training content and tools to accelerate climate action knowledge and capacity in destinations
  • A model for climate action planning that can be used with other destinations


At a national level, the main focus will be on the short-term Action Plan (April 2022- April 2024) that outlines the principal areas of focus for the public partners.

Through an analysis of the work already undertaken in Scotland, and by drawing on primary and secondary research, we will:

  • Facilitate the development of the draft Destination Net Zero Action Plan by providing structure, guidance and support; building the skills and capacity of Scottish Enterprise, its partners and stakeholders to implement and accelerate future net zero actions
  • Produce a final Destination Net Zero action plan which supports the Scottish policy objectives/direction as well as Scottish tourism industry needs, structured around the Glasgow Declaration 5-pathway framework (measure, decarbonise, regenerate, collaborate, finance)

Working with the three Scottish destinations, we will provide the knowledge, relationships, tools, and inspiration they need to effectively integrate climate action within their strategies, policies, and plans. Our activities will include the following.

  • Introduction to Destination Climate Action Planning: two online workshops enabling Scottish destinations to learn from experts, and from each other, about the five pathways for action identified in the Glasgow Declaration
  • A destination climate network will also be established and facilitated in Scotland, allowing for regular peer-to-peer interaction on climate action in tourism
  • Bespoke support will then be provided for 3 selected destinations to help them with development of their Initial Climate Action Plan, which will be centred around a series of Climate Quick Wins, as well as laying the building blocks for future planning
  • We will also provide tools to support the action-planning methodology which may include templates such as an adaptive action plan template, a decision-tree framework or a stakeholder mapping tool focused specifically on the intersection between climate action and tourism

A final event sharing the results and learnings of this pilot programme may also be delivered at either national or global scale.


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