WITH easing of lockdown this coming weekend it’s likely that Scotland will see an influx of tourists, a fact that will be greatly welcomed by our embattled tourist industry, but not everyone will be pleased.

I’ve been passed a letter signed by the chair of the Glencoe Community Council, a document that has been sent to community councils in Scotland suggesting a “collective approach to the problem we all suffer from – over-tourism.”

The basis of this approach is to “make it illegal to park overnight in any place other than a proper campsite”. The objects of ire are campervans.

I would agree there are issues to be resolved, but the character of tourism has changed dramatically in recent times.

Many campervanners don’t want to stay in campsites because they lack the flexibility the modern tourist wants. Traditional holidays on campsites were planned in advance and people spent the entire holiday in one place. That doesn’t suit today’s active travel market.

Campervans offer people the chance to visit and explore areas of Scotland. They just need somewhere to safely park for the night – a non-muddy, level stretch of ground.

Many campsites are now charging upwards of £30-£35 a night and these five-star set-ups are great if you want all the facilities on offer. Better to have a network of 1-star budget campsites – the corner of a farmer’s field, for example.

Also, most campsites only open between Easter and September.

There are a number of alternatives to campsites already in existence and more enlightened communities have set up overnight parking areas for campervans for a small fee. I have used such facilities in Kinlochbervie, Findhorn, the Glen Coe ski area and throughout the Western Isles.

Rather than suggest "banning" camper vans from overnight parking can I suggest community councils look at ways of helping to create an infrastructure that will provide safe, low-cost overnight parking whilst creating a source of income for the communities themselves? We only have to look at the success of the Aires network in most European countries to realise that here in Scotland we are decades behind in how we treat this kind of tourism.

Campervans already provide a considerable amount of money to rural economies. Owners buy fuel for their vehicles, eat and drink in local restaurants and pubs and buy supplies from supermarket and small village shops. In a country that claims to be progressive I find it extraordinary that community councils should actively oppose camper van tourism.

Making informal camping by camper vans illegal would require a major change to UK traffic law, so that is extremely unlikely. Far better for community councils to work together with organisations like the Campervan and Motorhome Professional Assocition (CVAMPA) to develop a more positive, welcoming and beneficial way forward, to Scotland’s benefit.

Cameron McNeish, Newtonmore.