Tourism is an industry which is fragmented, with many businesses of different sizes. These include a high number of one-person businesses. There is no requirement for businesses, even those supplying accommodation, to register with VisitScotland or with their local authority, which means it is difficult to know exactly how many tourism businesses there are.
There are voluntary Quality Assurance schemes (star ratings), administered by VisitScotland, for many types of business, including accommodation, attractions and places to eat, as well as voluntary Welcome Schemes for a range of visitors including walkers, cyclists, golfers, anglers and children. The Green Tourism Business Scheme encourages businesses to manage their environmental responsibilities and so attract discerning, responsible visitors.
Participation in Quality Assurance schemes also allows businesses to apply for tourist signposting, with the business paying for the signs.
The Scottish Tourism Forum is a membership organisation which represents the interests of the industry nationally. It brings people from both public and private sectors together to voice opinions about problems, priorities and solutions, and lobbies on the industry’s behalf to improve political and public commitment to tourism.
The Tourism Innovation Group (TiG) is led by the private sector and funded by the public sector. It has five priorities: Food; Arts and Culture; “Global” (to make Scotland product-ready for new markets); Application of Technology; and Sustainable Tourism. It leads Climate Change Scotland aiming to support carbon offset projects in Scotland itself.
Other useful links:
VisitScotland Quality Assurance
Green Tourism Business Scheme
Scottish Tourism Alliance
Tourism Intelligence Scotland