Viewing entries tagged
sustainable tourism




Tuesday, 5th June, is World Environment Day and to recognise the importance of our role in beating plastic pollution, Hello Scotland has pledged to stop using single-use coffee cups and to reduce our plastic bottle wastage. 


2.5 billion people don’t have a loo


2.5 billion people don’t have a loo

That’s 40% of the world’s population folks.

We were looking for international humanitarian projects that we could support. We didn’t have a big budget or resources for a large campaign, but even still, we wanted to make a difference.

Thanks to our friends at Green Tourism, we found what we were looking for – Toilet Twinning!



Greener Incentives: Part 3 - 5 Sustainable Scottish Tourism Suppliers

In part one we talked about the importance of DMC's knowing the sustainability of their suppliers. Part 2 detailed 5 ways to make your incentive greener without costing you money and in Part 3, we've combined both of these elements to bring you examples of what some of Hello Scotland's suppliers are doing for the green tourism and events. The following tourism suppliers are all part of the Going Green with Hello Scheme.

1. Gosford House

Local produce from the estate including organic and free range chicken and eggs, wild boar, lamb – some produce only travels 800m to reach the plate!

Tree planting is a natural occurrence on an Estate where there are several hundred acres of trees, not to mention the abundance of conservation and wildlife habitats that are managed, like bees for honey etc.

2. Allan's Coaches

Allan's renew their fleet constantly meaning they have the best up to date engine technology and a fleet that produces zero emissions!

Allan’s were one of the first coaching companies to do this.

Groups will always travel green!

3. Marriott Dalmahoy

The Dalmahoy’s golf course has been awarded a certification of excellence from Audobon for the environmental work on their golf course. This includes wild life habitat, water conservation, chemical reduction and safety, outreach and education.

Plus, over the last 10 years approximately 15,000 trees have been planted on the hotel grounds!

4. Marlin's Wynd

Marlin's Wynd use locally sourced produce in their seasonal menus, friendly lighting where possible and candle stubbs are always recycled (and they have a lot of candles!).

All waste is separated for recycling and they are moving towards a paperless office.

5. Hotel Missoni

Missoni are working on a green events package to include things like:

- Locally sourced food - Recycled paper products - An available laptop to calculate each atendees carbon footprint - Option to offset carbon emissions by supporting the Tree Amigos project with Trees for Scotland.



Greener Incentives: Part 2 - 5 Ways to Make Incentives Greener...Without Increasing your Budget

Part 2 of this 'greener incentive travel' blog series focuses on how you can make reduce the environmental impact of any incentive program whilst maintaining high standards and more importantly, without it costing you more! 5 ways to make your incentive greener - without costing you money!

1. Be smart about transport

Are your coach companies using low emission / green vehicles? Could the group walk or cycle between some locations and could you build this in as part of the experience? Are chauffeured vehicles electric or low emissions? Could the group take some public transport, like the train? These are all questions travel planners should ask themselves when planning incentive trips.

2. Offset your impact with a 'green' activity

Give back to the destination your group are visiting by building a green or 'give back' activity into their program. For example, with Hello Scotland you can choose carbon neutral tree planting, or volunteering with the Linlithgow Union Canal Society.

3. There's an app for that...

You can cut down on the amount of paper you use for each incentive group by using a mobile app, or even a simple PDF download for any itinerary information you need to give participants. PDF's for mobile devices are easy to create participants are less likely to lose their mobile/cell phone than they are a piece of paper!

App development would take more effort to complete, but once it's created it can be amended for each group...and would look uber slick to end clients and participants!

4. Choose responsible suppliers

We touched on this in part one when we talked about 5 questions you should ask your DMC. As your DMC will handle most of the local suppliers, it's important that you trust them and believe they will act responsibly on your behalf. Here's an example of how Hello help's clients choose responsible suppliers: Going Green with Hello.

5. Eat local

A simple, easy step but not always one that's remembered. Don't assume that everything you'll be dining on will be local produce as much of the time it may not be! If you can reduce the 'food miles' of your groups lunches and dinners, you could be reducing your impact on the local environment and leaving a positive one on the local economy.

Scotland is lucky enough to have one of the best natural larders in the world so make sure you take advantage of it!



Hello Scotland and friends get down and dirty for WTM World Responsible Tourism Day

On the 10th November Lisa, myself and some great friends from the tourism industry joined a large volunteer group for a clean up day on Scotland’s canals, here's what we got up to...

Since industry stopped using the canals in favor of rail transport the new value of the 200 mile network hasn’t always been recognized. Scotland’s canals are a vital source for economic impact from tourism & leisure, environmental improvements and great social benefits.

On WTM World Responsible Tourism Day we wanted to show our commitment to responsible and sustainable tourism in Scotland.

As a DMC we, along with the suppliers who joined us, are responsible for bringing thousands of individuals to Scotland each year, so it’s vital that we understand the impact this can have and the responsibility we have to Scottish countryside, the local communities and the environment.

Canal Volunteers
Canal Volunteers

After a quick lesson about the canal’s layout and the objectives of the day, we divided into teams and headed off for the spot on the canal that we’d been allocated. As you might know, I’m pregnant, so I took on a supervisory role during the day!

We cleared foliage from the sides of the canal, to stop it overgrowing into the canal water. Similarly, we cleared back the foliage on the tow-path so that it wouldn’t interrupt the travels of the many people who cycle, walk and run along the canal.

It was surprising how much we got done in a short period of time, however when Linton from British Waterways Scotland told us they had a backlog of work that would last 25 years we realized the vastness of the continuous work and the dedication of the volunteers!

We decided (as did some of our suppliers) that we’d be back again next year to help out and keep the Union Canal looking beautiful!


P.S. This will be my last green post for a while as I’m now on maternity leave. Lisa will be wearing the green blog hat for me whilst I’m gone!

A big thank you to:

Ronnie Bamberry (Kingsfield Events); Kerry McCabe & Bede McCabe (Winton House); Bryan Hogg (STGA Guide); Krystle Ste-Marie (Glasgow Marriott Hotel); and Louise Rattray (The Old Course Hotel).



Get involved with World Responsible Tourism Day 2011!

Responsible Tourism changes lives across the globe, find out why Hello Scotland are joining hundreds of tourism organizations to once again support and promotion WTM World Responsible Tourism Day…and why you should get involved. [youtube]

An intro to responsible tourism...

In 2002 the Cape Town Conference on Responsible Tourism in Destinations agreed a declaration on responsible tourism. The declaration agrees that responsible tourism:

  • Minimizes negative economic, environmental and social impacts
  • Generates greater economic benefits for local people and enhances the well being of host communities; improves working conditions and access to the industry
  • Involves local people in decisions that affect their lives and life chances
  • Makes positive contributions to the conservation of naturaland cultural heritage embracing diversity
  • Provides more enjoyable experiences for tourists through more meaningful connections with local people, and a greater understanding of local cultural, social and environmental issues
  • Provides access for physically challenged people
  • Is culturally sensitive, encourages respect between tourists and hosts, and builds local pride and confidence

Since 2009, the World Travel Market (WTM) have ran the WTM World Responsible Tourism Day campaign with the following objective:

  1. To help drive change by educating more responsible behaviour with the travel and tourism industry and travelling public
  2. To explore the issues of how countries and destinations are made more sustainable including case studies of best practices
  3. To educate the marketplace and debate key environmental related issues to push the agenda and be a catalyst for change
  4. To harness the influence of World Travel Market as an international business forum to encourage the industry to drive the responsible tourism agenda forward

Hello Scotland and WTM Responsible Tourism Day

In 2010, we joined other tourism organizations in promoting responsible tourism through a variety of activities. As a DMC, we feel we are in a position where we can communicate to a large number of people within the industry. From our clients – agents, incentive houses and corporate clients who are organizing travel – to our local tourism providers in Scotland, like hotels, transportation and activity providers.

We ran a photo campaign that asked clients and suppliers to share images of their own responsible tourism acts. For each 10 images we received, we pledged to plant a tree at a carbon neutral sustainable forest here in Scotland – which we did, with 10 of our Going Green with Hello champion suppliers on a green engagement day!

Hello Scotland’s 2011 Pledge

In 2010 we focused on the sustainability of Scotland’s future, but for this year we want to focus on an act that will improve Scotland right now, today, for visitors and for the local community.

When they were built almost 200 years ago, Scotland’s canals where a thriving transportation network at the heart of the local economy. In the early 19th century (check) competition from the railway network forces many of the canals to close and fall into disarray.

In the last few years, with thanks to British Waterways Scotland and The Waterways Trust, Scotland's inland waterways have undergone a transformation that has given them a new lease of life. Local authorities, volunteer groups, private companies and others have helped develop a thriving leisure resource for local communities and visitors alike.

Not only must this resource be maintained, but today the canals are also responding to wider agendas in leisure & tourism, health & community development, regeneration & economic opportunity environment and sustainability.

Here at Hello we believe the canals are a vital asset for tourism and the local communities, especially in terms of the sports and leisure opportunities they present.

On the 9th November 2011 – WTM World Responsible Tourism Day – 20 volunteers from Hello Scotland and their Going Green with Hello Suppliers will join large numbers of British Waterways Scotland volunteers at a special project near the Falkirk Wheel  - a rotating boat lift that connects the Union Canal with the Forth & Clyde Canal.

If you’d like to get involved please contact Lisa at and she’ll give you more information.

If you’re supporting the WTM World Responsible Tourism Day in any way we’d love to hear about it!





A Great Green Day in Perthshire!

Before the Easter break we had a fantastic trip to Perthshire with some of our lovely suppliers from around Scotland. Here’s how the day went, what we all learnt and what it means for our clients….

This Green Engagement Day was a chance to get an intimate group of some of our suppliers together for some bonding over tree planting and some green brainstorming and idea sharing.

Back in November we pledged to plant trees for World Responsible Tourism Day, in response to an e-campaign were we asked clients and suppliers to send us images of their green / charity / responsible efforts in their local environment.

The Day

Teaghlach Wood

Teaghlach Wood

We arrived at Comrie in Perthshire and were met by Angus from Trees4Scotland ( who lead the first part of our day. Angus spent time explaining about their current project, Teaghlach Wood and it’s importance in the bid to improve Scotland’s tree coverage – we currently have one of the lowest tree densities in Europe!

Throughout the Wood you can see tree varieties that are native to Scotland, such as oak, birch, willow and rowan, all at various stages of growth.

Teaghlach Wood

Teaghlach Wood

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

Then it was time to get stuck in and plant our own trees for our World Responsible Tourism Day pledge!

Everyone in the group got stuck in and I think it’s fair to say that the team from the Radisson Blu in Edinburgh made it their mission to plant as many as possible! It was a relaxed activity where the entire group got to know one another, whilst discussing broader green tourism issues and having a good laugh at each other’s spade skills!

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

Tree Planting

After working up an appetite planting approx 40 trees, we made the short journey to Glenturret Distillery for lunch and I think everyone would agree on how delicious the meal was.

Chef Steve made a personal appearance at the end of lunch to talk to us about how he sources food locally and reduces waste in the kitchen. With 2 chef’s in our group it was great to get them chatting together and seeing the agreement they have on issues such as the wonderful variety of Scottish food that’s available on our doorsteps!

This kick started our discussions for the rest of the afternoon with Claire giving a brief overview of the Lean Management processes and savings Hello Scotland have been working to achieve over the past number of years, followed by an interesting conversation about energy efficiency, waste management and cost savings.

What it means for our clients

This is all great news for us and our supplier partners who can benefit from the advice and discussions from the day, but how does it impact upon on clients and visitors to Scotland? What does green tourism in Scotland mean for them?

  1. Sustainability doesn’t have to impact service  / quality, in fact we’ve seen first hand from our attendees that it can mean improved quality and care as organizations turn to a culture with a caring and positive nature
  2. Incentive Participants ARE interested in sustainable, green and environmental issues in the visiting destination – our language guides confirm that individual participants DO ask about these matters, despite the lack of enthusiasm for ‘green’ themed incentive programs
  3. With local suppliers all working together, visitors are receiving a truer Scottish experience – with local produce like bread, meat etc. which also come with impressive low food miles
  4. Tree Planting for incentive groups – this is not just a tree planting exercise. Teaghlach Wood is a family forest where groups can have an entire experience that can be built around the idea of Scottish clansmen and togetherness in the Scottish wilderness. Not only is it a moral building and fun activity to do as a group, it’s also a very satisfying feeling to know that you’re giving something that will be around for hundreds of years to come, a legacy of your visit to Scotland

Warmest thanks to:

Angus – Trees4Scotland

John – Scottish Enterprise

Ronnie – Kingsfield Events

Brigit, Steve, Vlad, Mikey, & Lukasz – Radisson Blu Edinburgh

Annette & Kristine – STGA Language Guides

Wil Travel - for providing our transportation

Chef Steve & everyone at Glenturret



Give Back Incentives…would you consider a give back activity in your next incentive trip to Scotland?

The recent US trend for 'give back incentive programs' hasn’t quite grasped the UK market yet, but we think it’s on it’s way…so lets discuss how ‘give backs’ can be realized in Scotland.

What are ‘give backs?

Give Back programs are elements of an incentive of corporate event where the participants are given the opportunity to literally give back to the community in which their incentive is taking place. You can easily see the links between this and sustainable tourism, but it’s not just about choosing a sustainable destination, it’s about interacting with it too.


For Example…

A couple of examples from the US include things like a pub quiz, with the points scored by all teams being turned into dollars on phone cards, which are then sent to serving US soldiers around the world to allow them to call home.

Or, a competition to create a brand new team game, where the winning game is selected and the incentive participants then teach the game to a local school, providing them with the equipment to continue playing the new game!


Why choose a give back as part of your incentive program?

An incentive is a perfect opportunity to get employees together to give something back. It will unite the team for one common cause that’s not profit driven for the company, or self-driven for achievement, but a selfless act for others. This creates an immediate bond, strengthening relationships and improving the ‘caring and responsible’ corporate image.

Plus, they can be a lot of fun!


How can this be realized in Scotland?

Scotland is already a fantastically sustainable destination and can offer ideal sustainable incentives for organizations’ who have an environmental policy to adhere to (check out Going Green with Hello to see our, and our suppliers, commitment to green tourism and sustainability)

This means there is a natural platform for progression into interactive and engaging ‘give back’ activities. In a recent survey Hello Scotland, we discovered that lots of hotels, venues, activity providers and transport providers across Scotland already do a massive amount of own giving back to their own communities through a host of charitable, sustainable operations and green activities.

The connection to nature, landscapes and Scotland’s environment means the obvious choice would be to give back to the land, through activities like carbon neutral tree planting, conservation etc. It can be great to get down and dirty with nature, but what we also need to remember is that this incentive is a reward! Most probably for well-travelled individuals who are looking forward to a fun-filled luxury stay!

But don’t worry, give backs can also be sophisticated! You can easily integrate them into your existing program, for example doing a challenge or activity for your own nominated corporate charity.


What Give Backs have your groups done before?

If you’ve had a group participate in a give back program, or if you’re interested in creating one for a Scotland incentive, please drop us a comment in the box below!

Have a great weekend folks!




Behind the scenes in the hospitality industry

The hospitality industry isn’t all about scraping the plates, pressing the laundry or taking's an insight into the Corporate Social Responsibility acknowledged by Scottish tourism providers...

So this week I want to do an exposé with a difference on our suppliers’ commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) following the results from our Going Green with Hello accreditation which awards key suppliers with an accreditation based on their commitment to “going green” with us.

Hello Scotland is a caring, generous and fair company and our environmental efforts have sofar resulted in benefits to the environment around us.

For example, we went tree planting, donated office goods to charity and supported our local community with fundraising events.  But often it is these “behind the scenes” efforts that go unnoticed by a visitor to Scotland; so we aim to share the efforts and commitment to society and the local environment that our suppliers have undertaken.

We have recently launched formal accreditations for our suppliers who are committed to working together to making Scotland a more sustainable tourism destination.  Be this through greener operations, using local produce or supporting the local community.  We want to share the good work of our suppliers, so by putting a system in place to engage them we can effectively communicate to our stakeholders their efforts.

I was really interested by a lot of our responses so I wanted to share the feedback on our supplier’s initiatives in CSR.  Interestingly, out of all our questions this key area got the largest positive response with 80% of our suppliers already having a commitment in this area of their business.

And even more interestingly, we were inspired by the initiatives taking place, so thought we would share some of them with you here…

The Beardmore Hotel and Conference Centre

"Our furniture is given to local charities.   There was a one week where staff brought in clothes which was given to local charities.  For further information please contact me."

The Entertainment Company

"Specialist help to local charities with reduced costs, assistance with planning and decor."

Channings Hotel

"We donate to Fareshare, an Edinburgh charity for the homeless. all diners given the chance to donate."

Company takes part in fundraising events.

Edinburgh Marriott Hotel

"We hold quarterly spirit to serve the community events. We have appointed school halls, community centres, raised money for local charities through social events and raffles plus associates have run marathons and pedal for Scotland. In addition we give approximately £5,000 per year in gifts and prizes to local charities and schools."

Prestonfield House

"Our organic waste is collecting by the cyrenians Charity and turned into compost. We donate all left over shampoos etc to a local drop in centre in Edinburgh, we also sponsor a local school, and provide work placements for barnardos work placement scheme


Turnberry Resort

"Supporting Unicef (all Starwood hotels), Turnberry also support local charities."

Cameron House Hotel

"All items that the hotel no longer requires are donated to local schools or charities.  Plus we have a staff fundraising event every month for the companies chosen charity."

The George Hotel

"Sustrans is our charity of choice. Cycle to work scheme and "Green"  day out for staff annually."

Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa

"We prepare and give food the homeless at Christmas and we also have selected charities we work closely with throughout the year."

Glasgow Marriott Hotel

"Donate left over toiletries to local charities/organisations, fundraising events for local charities, 2 customer focus weeks a year where 1 day out of each is spent donating time to one of these charities - last year we spent a day gardening for Quarries."

Gosford House

"Not just environmentally but remembering that as one of the biggest landlords in the area we have responsibility for various community buildings and land. Aberlady Bay which became the first official Nature reserve in Britain in 1951 is owned by the estate. They also donated the land for the ROS to build an information centre there."

Finnich Malise Estate

"Not a policy as such but of course we feel responsible towards everyone who works in our business and on the estate.  We have a scheme of land share in our walled garden where we give land free of charge for allotments to plant vegetables."

Marlins Wynd

"Gave 2 computers to 'Computers for Africa' ".

Crieff Hydro,

"We recycle what we can including donating chairs to BLESMA, donated pictures to charities, liaise with local high school for "Operation Takeover" where students come to the Hydro, design and cook a themed meal and sell tickets for it; participate in "Bring Your Child to Work Day"; organise the local market monthly for 8 months; support CHAS and SSPCA among other initiatives."

City Cabs

"We are currently setting up a Charitable Foundation through which we seek to help registered Charities with a monthly contribution. As stated previously we are also recently registered with the Carbon Trust Foundation and are working with them looking at reducing our Carbon Footprint. We recycle our waste through Leep and have a weekly pickup."

Radisson Blu Hotel Edinburgh

"We work closely with Enable, as this is the staff chosen charity. Events include tree planting, litter picking and also a work placement within the hotel.  We recently changed our pillows to a new brand, so all old ones were donated to various charities with accommodation - shelter etc.

We are close neighbours with the Salvation Army so have donated many amenities, such as soap, shower gel etc.  Our staff set a rowing challenge for sports relief day to raise money, and previously had cake sales for Red Nose day."

Marriott Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club

"We have undertaken projects in the community, including tree planting.  Have donated unwanted furniture to various charities and are currently trying to organise a beach clean up and litter pick up campaign."

Kingsfield Events

"We presently donate to many local charities and organisations. We held a Relay for Life for Cancer Research 3 years ago and raised over £70k . We are keen to plant more trees on our land and are willing to take on other suitable activities in the near future."

We even got the chance to see some of these initiatives in action with the picture responses that we got from some of our suppliers earlier this week as part of our World Responsible Tourism Initiative, whereby we pledge to plant one tree for every “responsible tourism themed” photo we receive!... Take a look at some of them here.

Do you have any Green tourism or travel issues you'd like to discuss?





Recognising World Responsible Tourism Day!

The 10th November was WTM World Responsible Tourism Day and we’d like to share with you how the clients and suppliers or Hello Scotland are raising awareness for responsible and sustainable tourism around the globe. Check out the photos in the post!