15 October 2021
The world’s first ever UNESCO trail, bringing together some of Scotland’s most iconic, diverse and culturally significant sites, has been launched today (15 October 2021).
Scotland’s UNESCO Trail connects the country’s 13 place-based UNESCO designations, including World Heritage Sites, Biospheres, Global Geoparks and Creative Cities to form a dedicated digital trail. It aims to take visitors on a 'cultural journey across the country', experiencing everything from history to science, music, design and literature to nature and cityscapes.
The digital trail – which is available on the VisitScotland website showcases the breadth of UNESCO designations on offer across Scotland, providing information and inspiration to visitors across the world. It also celebrates businesses and communities that are committed to responsible tourism business practices and promotes sustainable travel options.
Scotland is the first nation in the world to create such an initiative. Developed through a unique partnership between VisitScotland, the Scottish Government, the UK National Commission for UNESCO, Historic Environment Scotland, NatureScot, the National Trust for Scotland and Scotland’s 13 UNESCO designations, the project has received £360,000 funding from the Scottish Government to support the strategy for the sustainable recovery of Scottish tourism.
Scotland's UNESCO sites
The full list of designations included in Scotland’s UNESCO Trail are:
- the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere
- Wester Ross UNESCO Biosphere
- Dundee UNESCO City of Design
- Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature
- Glasgow UNESCO City of Music
- Shetland UNESCO Global Geopark
- North West Highlands UNESCO Global Geopark
- the Forth Bridge UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Frontiers of the Roman Empire: Antonine Wall UNESCO World Heritage Site
- New Lanark UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Heart of Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Old and New Towns of Edinburgh UNESCO World Heritage Site
- St Kilda World Heritage Site
Tourism Minister Ivan McKee officially launched the trail in Dundee, the UNESCO City of Design, by unveiling a specially commissioned design by illustrator and printmaker Jagoda Sadowska, a graduate of the city’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. The design has been printed onto a door, which will be incorporated into the city’s Open Close tour as a permanent legacy of the trail.
Tourism Minister Ivan McKee said: “Scotland has always been a pioneering nation and I’m pleased to see we’re leading the way with the world’s first UNESCO digital trail. Tourism is key to Scotland’s economy and as we begin to recover from the pandemic, this collaboration between the Scottish Government, VisitScotland, NatureScot and UNESCO could not be more timely.
"Supported by £360,000 of Scottish Government funding, the UNESCO Trail will help to attract and welcome both domestic and international visitors again, by showcasing Scotland’s unique cultural heritage and many UNESCO sites. As we approach COP26, I’m pleased to see that the UNESCO trail has sustainability at its core and will help visitors make responsible and sustainable choices by highlighting green accredited businesses and promoting environmentally friendly travel.”