By Magdalena Szczepanczyk
Scotland: the land of lochs, glens and fairy-tale castles. Young people are becoming less and less aware each year of the beauty that Scotland has to offer and choose to visit places abroad instead.
According to The Scottish Tourism Alliance case study called ‘Heritage Tourism & Young People’ it is shown that “young people, aged 16-24 years old are indeed amongst the least likely visitors to historical and archaeological places.” Scotland being home to a robust amount of sights, historical places and natural beauty reaching every inch of the rugged coast is not the first-choice place to be visited by young locals. Erasmus student Isabella Illiano, 24, from Sweden said “I travel a lot and I have seen many places, some which have absolutely taken my breath away. There were quite a few places I could choose from when picking where to go for my Erasmus programme and I realised that I have only visited Scotland once before and would love to know more about it. I visited the Isle of Skye, so I thought that if the rest of Scotland looks just like that, then I won’t regret my choice; honestly I don’t regret it.”
Admirable scenery of the north of Scotland, the Highlands is home to rolling hills covered in grass and heathers, deep lochs and a dramatic coast, especially towering glens in the Highlands are hard to find in any other part of Scotland. Despite this, young people living in Scotland choose other places to visit in the world without the knowledge of what lies on their doorstep. Isabella adds: “I don’t really understand why locals don’t want to sightsee Scotland. When I asked some people from my course to give me ideas of some places I should visit, they were not able to give me a straight answer. Of course, they knew some cool places, but they were your stereotypical Edinburgh and Glasgow sights and most of them were actually old bars, so not really what I had in mind.”
Main cities are more likely to be visited by local youths because they are easily accessible with great transport links by train and buses. Even though regular services run through the Highlands and stop in some of its main areas, it is not the first-place young people think of when looking for a travel destination. Expensive hotels and B&Bs make it even less accessible for young people because they prefer saving money for an abroad holiday. Emily Pflueger, 23, Erasmus student from Germany said: “I have a lot of Scottish friends who have never been to the Highlands, same for my friends in England. Whenever I ask them where they plan on taking a holiday, they say the usual Spain, Greece, France and not even one person said they are heading to the Highlands. Well I’m a little different because I decided to visit Glencoe and Inverness for a Winter retreat and it was a magnificent trip.”
Amber Kane, 20, Scottish student said: “maybe I don’t explore Scotland as much as I should. For holidays I would usually look at abroad destinations even though there is beautiful Scottish countryside which I should appreciate more. A reason for not sightseeing Scotland is that I didn’t realise how many nice places there are to visit. It’s not really advertised as a tourist destination, and also the weather.”