We are now nearing the end of Scotland’s Climate Week, which has been putting the country’s journey to become more sustainable into focus. We have had a chance to stop and take stock of how far we have come as one of the first nations to declare a global climate emergency, but also how far we still have to go.

For Scotland’s tourism industry, knowing how to operate more sustainably and taking that first step can be overwhelming for many businesses.

This is where VisitScotland is here to help and can support businesses on their journey to achieving Net Zero.

From our Destination Net Zero tourism recovery programme to helping businesses to develop a climate action plan, access to Green Tourism certification and Rural Tourism Infrastructure funding for electric vehicle charge points, we want to make it as easy as possible for businesses.

The theme of Scotland Climate Week this year is heating and transport: two essential aspects of running a tourism business. I know there are many challenges for businesses in the current economic climate and that means, for many, Net Zero can drop down the list of priorities. But I would urge businesses to consider carbon reduction as a way to make initial savings and continue to make savings.

There are plenty of things that can make a difference. For example, looking at the fabric of your building can identify key areas of significant energy loss. And the simplest question of all: could you switch off your lights more? Switching to an LED bulb and a renewable energy supplier are simple and effective solutions to becoming more carbon neutral.

We know that visitors are also becoming more concerned about the impact of their travels on the planet and looking for more sustainable choices while on holiday. Responsible tourism is a key theme for our consumer marketing and travel trade activity and an opportunity to highlight the variety of sustainable tourism experiences on offer across the country.

It is also important for us at VisitScotland to celebrate industry success stories and best practice with responsible tourism at the heart of our annual industry awards, the Scottish Thistle Awards, with new categories on Celebrating Thriving Communities, Inclusive Tourism and Climate Action introduced this year.

Due to the speed of climate change, Net Zero is a fast-paced and a constantly evolving area. At VisitScotland we are committed to being a trusted and accessible source of information and advice for tourism businesses. Guidance and free resources can be found on the "supporting your business" section on our industry website, VisitScotland.org.

It is important to break down barriers and speak with the tourism industry about climate change and achieving Net Zero on a level we all understand.

We want businesses to feel part of the wider Net Zero tourism community with Scottish Climate Week offering a timely opportunity for us to highlight support and advice on offer through VisitScotland.

Tiomói​d Foley is VisitScotland Net Zero Manager