Scotland named as world’s most beautiful country

by Ray Clancy on September 5, 2017

If you want to move to the most beautiful country in the world then Scotland is the place to consider, having taken the top spot in an annual poll by a global travel guide.

Scotland has been voted the world’s most beautiful country by Rough Guide readers, beating Canada into second place, followed by New Zealand and Norway. It seems the UK is popular among travellers as England was placed seventh and Wales in the top 10 with the tenth spot.

Loch Ness Scotland

(DejaVuDesigns/Bigstock.com)

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, believes the title will attract more people to Scotland. ‘We are delighted that Scotland has received this remarkable accolade from Rough Guide readers, but of course it will not be a surprise to anyone who has encountered our wonderful country,’ he said.

‘From our awe-inspiring landscapes to our remarkable historic attractions, to our bustling but beautiful urban centres, Scotland takes people’s breaths away. Of course, with great beauty comes great responsibility and we urge both visitors and residents alike to respect Scotland’s natural assets to protect and preserve them for many generations to come,’ he added.

And there has been some concern expressed about whether Scotland can cope with even more visitors. At the height of the summer all campsites, hotels, guest houses and bed and breakfast establishment in the island of Skye were full, prompting calls for a tourist tax to be introduced.

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, which hosts the biggest international arts festival in the world alongside the equally famous Fringe festival, has also been full during August. Hotels had few spare rooms and some reported not being able to hire enough staff to cope in restaurants and bars.

Locals in Edinburgh tend to avoid the city centre during the festivals as the narrow streets can be hard to negotiate due to the crowds attending comedy and other shows which are held from 11am until the early hours of the morning. Buses are often late due to the demand and the crowds.

Edinburgh World Heritage, which is responsible for protecting the city’s World Heritage status, wants the city to conduct an experiment of staging its major events at different times to ensure the capital properly balances the needs of local residents and businesses.

The organisation has warned that Edinburgh is in danger of ‘suffering the same fate’ as Venice, which it described as a ‘hollow museum shell’, adding that Edinburgh is ‘a fragile historic city. It has backed calls for the festivals to be stretched out from June through to September to ease congestion in the city centre, help visitors find accommodation and allow more locals to attend events.

Land owners in popular areas, such as Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, have voiced concerns about an increase in so called ‘wild’ campers who arrive with chain saws and hack down trees to make a fire while camping and leave their ‘throw away’ cheap tents and rubbish behind.

The national park has recently introduced a camping permit scheme for four lochside camping management zones which means that anyone camping without a permit could face criminal charges between March and September. The camping management zones are focused around the national park’s busiest lochshore locations which attract very high numbers of campers year on year in a bid to protect the environment and stamp out antisocial behaviour.

‘Our focus as always is to encourage and support people to enjoy the national park while at the same time protecting its special environment. Our rangers will continue welcoming people and educating them on all the aspects of the park. This is not about looking to catch people out who might be camping in the wrong place, as taking formal action would always be a last resort, but helping them understand where and how they can camp responsibly,’ said chief executive Gordon Watson.

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