Top award for Edinburgh tour guides who plant trees to offset carbon footprint

A group of tour guides who plant trees to offset their carbon footprint have been awarded official recognition for their sustainable working practices.

Edinburgh-based firm Select Scotland Tours has been awarded the Green Tourism Gold Award for their efforts in pursuing a sustainable tourism model in the Capital and across Scotland.

Green Tourism is an accreditation organisation founded in Scotland, originally developed through a partnership between VisitScotland and Green Business UK, who continue to develop and operate the scheme.

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The award is well-recognised throughout the tourism industry and is an important part of Scotland’s mission to move towards becoming a sustainable tourism destination.

Assessors highlighted the excellent work that has been carried out by the team, including planting 218 native trees to offset carbon emissions, recycling waste generated on tours, using green energy suppliers for domestic energy and numerous litter picking, beach cleaning community programmes.

Fraser Parkinson, one of Select Scotland Tours’ guides, said he and his fellow tour guides have worked hard in recent years to become carbon neutral and were “delighted” to receive the award.

He said: “Select Scotland Tours joined Green Tourism in 2017 and over the last four years have progressed steadily from Bronze to Silver and now the Gold Award.

Two of Select Scotland Guides on one of the many beach cleans around Scotland.

“As well as all our activity in and around Edinburgh, our driver guides visit the most beautiful parts of Scotland over a number of days and despite driving a hi spec fleet of fuel-efficient vehicles, we felt it was only right to sign up to the Trees for Life Carbon Offset scheme.”

Mr Parkinson says the award has been a welcome boost at a time when the tourism industry has been ravaged by the Covid pandemic.

He added: “It’s been a very challenging year for tourist guides in Scotland so this has given us a boost as we look optimistically towards the coming year.

“The team of 10 members are all qualified to the top standard, each holding the Scottish Tourist Guides Association, Blue Badge award, as well as each having highly developed specialisms in Scottish history, culture, heritage - and of course whisky.”

Select Scotland Tours have been awarded the Green Tourism Gold Award for sustainable working practices.

Recipients of the Green Tourism awards are decided by VisitScotland green tourism officials against a set of criteria, covering a range of areas, including energy and water efficiency, waste management, biodiversity, community involvement and more.

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