Sustainable Tourism on Mull and Iona has an important role to play in the islands’ reputation as a Eco-tourism destination.
Sustainable Tourism on Mull
I don’t think you can have Eco-tourism without Sustainable Tourism. Eco-tourism should be underpinned by accommodation and travel choices that are sustainable. Sustainable tourism businesses like ours not only manage their businesses to minimise their impact on the environment but they work with and support their local communities.
One Christmas some guests accidentally overpaid for their electricity. They asked us to give the excess to a local charity. What a lovely thought!
I chose the Ulva Ferry Housing Project which is planning to build 4 affordable houses near Ulva Ferry. Making the donation for them this morning gave me the idea to blog about some of the charities and community groups on the island which visitors to the islands might like to support.
SOME of the community groups on Mull and Iona
This is a brief synopsis of SOME of the groups working with the island communities. There are others which I will write about another time. In the meantime please have a look at what they do, and why not support them while you are here?
Green Tourism Business Scheme
Whilst not an island community group, I think it is important to mention the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS) in a blog about Sustainable Tourism on Mull! Selecting a GTBS member accommodation is a good way of ensuring that the place you choose to stay is as sustainable as it says it is!
We first joined the GTBS in 1997. We have to meet their criteria whilst working continually improve our performance. Continual auditing ensures that we are on the right track when it comes to minimising our impact on the environment. We have proudly held a Gold Award for the last 20 years! Our Environmental Policy 2023 is here. More about Treshnish and the Environment is here.
For more information please have a look at the Green Tourism website.
Mull and Iona Community Trust
MICT operate across the Isles of Mull and Iona. They manage a wide range of new projects – including affordable housing and building a child care facility. On top of that they are creating a small units business park outside Tobermory. A myriad of community groups including Mull Musical Minds and Mull Safe and Sound are supported by them.
The MESS project with 2 community charity shops (the brilliantly named ‘Castaways’) help reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and encourage island residents to recycle! You can find out more about their work here. A great way to support MICT and their projects is to shop in Castaways – in Craignure and in Bunessan.
Ulva Ferry Community Bus
We are grateful to MICT for the Ulva Ferry Community Bus which runs from Salen to Calgary. This provides a flexible bus service where previously there has been none. There is an electric car which takes residents on bespoke journeys. An added advantage is that this community project makes it much easier for our guests to travel without a vehicle of their own.
The Island of Ulva
The beautiful Isle of Ulva is now in community ownership. The project is in the very early stages, beginning to look at renovating old housing stock with the aim of increasing the number of full time residents. The island is managed by local community group North West Mull Community Woodland Company. (We buy woodchip for the biomass boiler from them). For more details have a look at the Ulva website.
South West Mull and Iona Development
SWMID have a wide ranging number of projects in the Ross of Mull and on Iona, including the community owned Tiroran Forest. They have a fantastic Community Transport Scheme. I think I am right in saying the Bus from the children’s TV programme Balamory was their first community vehicle? With an office in the Columba Centre in Fionnphort, they mastermind the wonderful annual Ross of Mull Gala Fortnight every summer!
Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust
As regular readers of our blog will know we are now Corporate Partners with HDWT. They are based in Tobermory and do important work in researching and collecting data on the west coast of Scotland and beyond. They have a small visitor centre in Tobermory. Have a look at their website for more information. Pop into their visitor centre!
This year, HWDT have been instrumental in starting the Hebridean Whale Trail. Why not take part whilst you are here.
Mull and Iona Food Trail
Mull and Iona Food Trail promotes island producers and suppliers. Producers and suppliers commit to a set of criteria designed to ensure quality, environment and welfare. Look out for the Map while you are here!