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Tourism Response to the Highly Protected Marine Areas Consultation

The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) was grateful for the opportunity to provide a collective response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on Scottish Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) on behalf of the tourism industry.

The response was limited to Question 7: ‘Do you have any further comment on the draft Policy Framework, which have not been covered by your answers to the previous questions?’

The tourism industry values the importance of protecting our marine environments, their biodiversity, and the coastal environment that underpins the value of the recreational activities that attract responsible tourists to our coastlines. Protecting and safeguarding our marine areas helps to ensure one of our greatest natural tourism assets continues to be enjoyed by future generations, alongside guaranteeing that we can continue to offer world-renowned Scottish seafood. At the same time, coastal and marine environments should continue to offer non-damaging opportunities for recreational activities for locals and visitors to enjoy.

Care of the environment and the responsible, sustainable enjoyment of our waters is a core theme within the Giant Strides 2020-2025 Marine Tourism Strategy, and is one of the 5 pillars of the British Marine National Agenda, which we wholeheartedly support.

As an industry, we welcome the conclusion that recreational water activities at non-damaging levels should be permitted in HPMAs. However, our response also sets out the challenges associated with HPMAs, which may indirectly impact coastal and island communities. It is imperative these are overcome through the introduction of an evidence-based, robust and proportionate policy framework which will benefit the marine environment while also minimising potential adverse impacts. We cannot stress enough the importance of close consultation with tourism destinations in island and coastal areas.


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