Countryside Visitors - Who Pays?

13feb4:00 pm6:00 pmVirtual EventCountryside Visitors - Who Pays?Join us for a SEDA Land conversation on sharing the benefits of rural tourism and possibilities for diversifying future funding. OrganiserScottish Ecological Design Association (SEDA)4:00 pm - 6:00 pm(GMT+00:00) Event TypeWebinar & TalksThemeCommunity,Governance & Just Transition,Nature & Biodiversity

Event Details

Rural tourism makes a massive contribution to Scotland’s economy, including generating £1.2 billion from walking tourism alone, as well as improving the country’s social capital in terms of health and wellbeing. But many who live in rural communitie are not getting their fair share of the benefits.

Rural communities are suffering the downsides – congestion (with settlements on the NC500 particularly badly affected), litter, housing pressures, business closures and rural depopulation. Decades of under-investment in rural infrastructure have seen the deterioration or removal of ranger services, public toilets and rural roads. The Scottish Government recently stepped in with dedicated funding for visitor management but this is on an annual, one-off, basis whereas long-term investment is needed.

SEDA Land is running a conversation on how more of the fiscal and other benefits generated by visitors – tourists, day-trippers, dog-walkers, mountain-bikers and other extreme sports enthusiasts – to the countryside might be channelled back into the affected areas.

Recreation and enjoyment of the outdoors is also crucial for our health and wellbeing, with these benefits increasingly recognised in the growth of preventative medicine “green prescribing”. Given the contribution that outdoor pursuits make to our health, should we be looking at alternative sources of investment in their infrastructure and management, rather than simply seeing them as part of rural tourism? Given the potential savings to NHS Scotland’s £18bn-a-year budget we will also be looking at how some of the clawed-back funds might be redistributed to rural communities for investment in improving regional infrastructure and visitor management.


  • To develop a model for local distribution of funding for the infrastructure necessary for rural tourism and supporting better health.
  • To give communities the skills and responsibilities to enable/empower them to respond to the growing needs of tourism and supporting better health.




Helen Todd, Policy manager, Ramblers Scotland


Rob Dickson, Director of Industry and Destination Development, Visit Scotland

Laura Ann Ferguson, Outreach Worker, Venture Trust

Carron Tobin, Enabler SCOTO

Prof. Verity Watson, School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, University of Aberdeen

Last two speakers TBC



(Monday) 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm(GMT+00:00)