Tourism is important to Orkney and pre-COVID attracted some half a million visitors each year contributing £50 million+ to the local economy. For years now however the policy of mass growth has gone unchecked and urgently needs revision to ensure sustainable management. Tourism growth has been sudden and massive for Orkney, with many communities subsequently feeling overwhelmed. Greens will encourage sustainable tourism which supports, instead of overwhelms, the local community. We will push for a review of the capacity and scale of tourism, including the social and environmental costs. Furthermore, stronger environmental controls on the impact of cruise ships on the sea, air quality, and on communities, is urgently needed. Likewise, so is better infrastructure to support tourism, such as road maintenance, public toilets, visitor information hubs, and waste disposal facilities.
With local partners ensure that the Orkney Tourism Strategy develops a long-term plan for the sustainable development of tourism in Orkney including careful management of tourist volume to optimise cruise vessel visits and day tours.
Introduce green requirements for visiting cruise liners and work towards the elimination of climate and environmental damage arising from port calls by visiting vessels.
Investigate ship, passenger excursion, visitor and resident experiences of tourism, as well as any infrastructural and locational impacts.
Ensure that the World Heritage Site in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney is managed well and sustainably and supports the long-term development and security of archaeology research in Orkney.
Engage with communities to produce local Place Plans that manage tourism sustainably.
Consult local views on and the potential of a ‘tourist tax’, the power to implement which will soon be available to Orkney Islands Council. These funds should be ring fenced for investment in local community infrastructure and initiatives so that the benefits of tourism reach all sectors of the Orkney community.