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The UNESCO National Trail in Scotland

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The UK National Commission for UNESCO’s case studies are a series of studies that focus on specific interactions between UNESCO’s programmes, designations and objectives and the UK

The UNESCO National Trail in Scotland

PUBLISHED 25 JUNE 2020

This case study is part of the 2020 Nation Value of UNESCO to the UK Report.

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The UNESCO National Trail in Scotland is a new digital trail to be launched by the UK National Commission for UNESCO in partnership with VisitScotland and UNESCO Scotland designations.

The digital trail will connect 13 UNESCO designations in Scotland to enhance the economic and social well-being of their respective local areas through sustainable tourism. It is the first trail that brings together UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves, Global Geoparks and Creative Cities, encouraging visitors to stay longer and spend more locally, improving, in turn, the quality of life of those communities.

The digital trail will connect 13 UNESCO designations in Scotland to enhance the economic and social well-being of their respective local areas through sustainable tourism. It is the first trail that brings together UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves, Global Geoparks and Creative Cities, encouraging visitors to stay longer and spend more locally, improving, in turn, the quality of life of those communities.

The idea of promoting the UNESCO brand in Scotland is supported by the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop MSP and the chair of VisitScotland John Thurso.

The Scottish designations of UNESCO, including 2 Biosphere Reserves, 3 Creative Cities, 2 Global Geoparks and 6 World Heritage Sites have agreed to form a UNESCO trail across the country, which constitutes a global first. It will also for the first time show a collaboration between the different spheres of UNESCO – in particular displaying a cognitive link between the natural and cultural heritage of Scotland.

The UNESCO trail in Scotland will be a digital asset, reachable by interested parties and prospective tourists from all across the globe. It aims to increase the value of visitors to the sites, increase geographic spread amongst visitors to Scottish UNESCO designations, engage and involve local communities, promote UNESCO’s goals and values as well as encourage and champion sustainable tourism policies.

The UNESCO Trail in Scotland is aligned with public agencies in its approach, as well as with the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework and it aims to reduce inequalities and to give equal importance to economic, environmental and social progress. History, heritage and landscape are already a significant part of the visitor experience in Scotland. VisitScotland research indicates that there is a tourism focus on Edinburgh and other cities that act as transport hubs, and the UNESCO trail is an opportunity to encourage visitors to stay longer and visit other areas of Scotland.

The UNESCO National Trail in Scotland will tell the authentic story of Scotland in a way that is progressive pioneering and inclusive. This aligns with the UNESCO values and ethos that encourage partnership work based on the pillars of peace, education and sustainability.

The project aims to position Scotland as a place that celebrates, champions and offers world-leading educational, scientific, cultural and sustainable tourism via UNESCO. It will sustain and enact national strategies and build upon the momentum of the preceding themed years that have taken place in Scotland, such as its year of History, Heritage and Archaeology in 2017 which was a great success. It will bring new audiences, celebrating the historical past, looking at present and future sustainable growth in an outward looking, welcoming and innovative way.

This case study was a part of the 2020 National Value of UNESCO to the UK Report 

ISSN 2050-8212 (Print)

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Discover the National Value Programme

The 2020 National Value for UNESCO to the UK Report & Programme

The National Value Report seeks to capture the economic and wider intangible value of the UK network of UNESCO designations. It finds that the network is adding significant value to our economy and society and recommends how this value can be enhanced.

The National Value of UNESCO Designations to the United Kingdom Report shows how UNESCO is bringing sites, people and communities together, and creating and delivering value for the United Kingdom. It finds that the vibrant network of UNESCO sites in the UK, its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are contributing in three main areas: they contribute financial value, they make a rich and creative contribution to the UK’s environment, culture and communities and contribute to the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

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The 2020 National Value for UNESCO to the UK Report & Programme Case Studies

The case studies that form this series illustrate these benefits to the UK that are contributed by the vibrant Network of UK UNESCO sites as found by the National Value Report; featuring financial value, academic research, environmentalism and climate change, promotion and preservation of culture, education and more.

PUBLISHED 25 JUNE 2020

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