18 August 2008

VisitScotland and the Real Definition of Green Marketing

It's either the silly season or VisitScotland have finally tipped over the edge. You'd think in this difficult times for marketing Scotland to the world, with a strong pound vs. the dollar and in these troubled economic times that the organization charged with increasing tourism would be focused on the main job in hand. Not a bit of it, they've now decided to introduce yet another marketing scheme. According to their latest scheme. "Hotels, guest houses, restaurants and visitor attractions will be challenged to change long-standing habits, adopt new energy-saving measures and promote eco-friendly initiatives. Guests will be urged to 'go green' on holiday by ditching their cars, hiring a bike or going on a walking trip, and cutting down on the amount of water they use."

Among VisitScotland's ideas to help businesses improve their environmental record are collecting rainwater for re-use, installing low-energy lighting systems, recycling all glass, cans and plastic, and installing water-efficient toilets. Apparently once a business has signed up to the new "Going Green" initiative they will be coached throughout the year by experts at VisitScotland, with the aim of securing accreditation to the organisation's Green Tourism Business Scheme. Then they will get a little green plaque to go with their VisitScotland rating's plaque.

This is madness! A plethora of initiatives continue to flow out of the national tourist organization from people who clearly have little idea how marketing tourism works. VisitScotland's much-vaunted web site revamp still leaves me, and probably many others, cold. Just take the Scottish Borders, forty one places are listed in their place guide to the region, of which nine, 22%, have in their description." A full description of this location will be added shortly." It's been like that now for years and still nothing new. But it gets worse. Under Kirk Yetholm there's this picture. It's probably closer to twenty years old than ten! The fact is that until someone gets a hold of visitScotland and addresses its fundamental weaknesses will continue to drag it down – they should start with their dull and boring, clunky website.

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