Showing your business is responsible: a how-to guide

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Every entrant to the Aberdeen City and Shire Thistle Awards will have to demonstrate their commitment to responsible tourism. With just a few hundred words to shape your answer, it’s vital to get it right!

Let’s take a closer look at how to prove your company is on the right tracks – and examine some of the key criteria to keep in mind!

Environmental responsibility

Climate change is a critical goal within Scottish tourism. This includes adhering to environmentally friendly practices and building-in low carbon solutions wherever possible.

  • Businesses need to show they are taking this into account with their future planning. Be prepared to ask yourself these questions:
  • What measures are being taken practically to reduce energy use (including within insulation, heating and lighting)?
  • How are you reducing waste within the company?
  • Do you have solutions in place to reduce food waste?
  • Are you eliminating single-use plastics
  • Will you be promoting low-carbon transport as a way to reach the venue?


Scotland’s heritage is world-famous and with good reason! We want to maintain this reputation for excellence. Consider carefully:

  • What do you do to promote Scotland’s cultural heritage?
  • Do you enhance the culture of the country?
  • Do you promote local food and drink? How?
  • Do you support biodiversity and local wildlife? How?

You may find some of your answers overlap with other areas, such as diversity or sustainability.

Community building

We want people to feel welcome in Scotland, and to make them want to visit again and again. When it’s done right, tourism can make a positive contribution to communities, providing employment and bringing cash flow into the locations where tourist sites are located.

Key questions to ask yourself include:

  • How are you helping local communities?
  • Has your business shifted to support the local community during the pandemic?
  • Do you engage with local projects?


Spaces across Scotland are meant to be inclusive and accessible to all. This means removing some of the barriers to enjoying the country’s best areas and catering to a diverse cross-section of society including:

  • Children
  • Senior citizens
  • Wheelchair users
  • Disabled people
  • LGBTQ travellers

Think of what you’re doing to make your venue more inclusive to these groups. Are you providing a warm welcome to everyone? How are you achieving this? What areas can still be improved upon? Don’t be afraid to show progress!

Demonstrating your evidence

Once you have the evidence of your activities in place, now it’s time to demonstrate it through your submission. As highlighted above, be aware of any overlap between your answers and keep your response concise.

Demonstrate the real value of each action taken, showing results through certification, a growing customer base or the positive impact on your local community.

When you’re ready to submit your award entry, head to the official website at