About Us

What is SCOTO?

SCOTO is a network of community tourism enterprises located throughout Scotland and led by a team of dynamic individuals who each have extensive and varied experience in community tourism.

SCOTO’s ambition is to recalibrate tourism in Scotland to deliver for Scotland’s communities and environment first.

In the beginning

Where we started from

The Communities Leading in Tourism (CLT) Programme brought together groups of tourism providers and community representatives in the Highlands and Islands and the South of Scotland at a crucial time for the sector.

With Scotland aiming to rebuild from the effects of Covid-19, and with demand for staycations increasing, there is now – more than ever – an opportunity and a need to engage and empower local communities, and to ensure that the benefits that flow from tourism are enjoyed more widely.

Over 85 individuals took part in the CLT programme. Three outcomes were evident:

a) Most participants did not have a background in tourism and gained massively from better understanding the sector and how it operates on many levels.

b) Recognition that Community Tourism is a real thing that conscious consumers seek out and is exceptionally well aligned to the national tourism strategy ‘Scotland Outlook 2030’ – yet it is not represented by existing tourism forums or presented to visitors as a distinct experience in its own right.

c) Creating a forum where participants could share new ideas and innovations made a tangible difference back in their respective local community.

The new voice for community tourism

One of CLT's Highland participants Russell Fraser of Loch Ness Hub recognised the value from this new network and came up with the initial idea of continuing it through a new forum and devising a brand to help visitors find community tourism enterprises.

In 2021 CLT course leader Carron Tobin, was successful in securing a £60k grant from the Scottish Government’s Tourism Leadership & Recovery Fund to progress Russell’s idea – and establish SCOTO.

This 6-month grant was specifically targeted at formally establishing SCOTO as a legal entity, developing a digital presence for engagement between members and with visitors, creating the much-needed networking forum for CLT practitioners, establishing a social media presence and devising a brand marque to raise visitor awareness of Community Tourism enterprises across Scotland. Our first year has exceeded all expectations! Check out the highlights of our impact here.

Who We Are

Meet our delivery team
Diane Smith  (SCOTO Coordinator)
Diane Smith (SCOTO Coordinator)


Carron Tobin (Executive Director)
Carron Tobin (Executive Director)

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs

Our directors are
Russell Fraser (Chair)
Russell Fraser (Chair)

Loch Ness

 Melanie Allen
Melanie Allen

Dumfries & Galloway

Fiona Drane
Fiona Drane


Norma Lyall
Norma Lyall


David McCubbin
David McCubbin


Carron Tobin (Executive Director)
Carron Tobin (Executive Director)

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs

Catriona Waddington  (Company Secretary)
Catriona Waddington (Company Secretary)

Shetland Isles

Our Aim

“to establish community owned and managed tourism as a highly respected and distinct sector within the Scottish tourism offer - dedicated to providing high quality and authentic experiences which derive positive benefits for our visitors and our communities alike.”

Our objectives

Shutterstock 448508254

To represent, provide leadership and be a voice for Community Tourism organisations and enterprises across Scotland

Shutterstock 1590243523

To provide a forum for networking, collaboration and learning about Community Tourism

Shutterstock 1030124977

To market, promote and raise awareness of Community Tourism products and experiences available across Scotland

Shutterstock 220437766

To own and manage a brand marque for use by eligible Community Tourism providers

The key areas of activity

To deliver our objectives we are focussing on


Developing an instantly recognisable visitor-facing brand, Be Local and our network brand SCOTO.


Operating a visitor facing website www.belocal.scot which features community tourism blogs and interactive map showcasing each of our partners under key themes. Supporting and sharing resources, events and invaluable information to our SCOTO Network through www.scoto.co.uk


Undertaking contracts and provide services activity linked to Community Tourism.

Social Media

Being active on social media as @SCOTOnetwork and @BeLocalScotland, profiling our activity and partners and engaging in wider tourism conversations


PR and media activity to raise awareness of our presence and offering


Providing platforms for our network to share information and ask questions.


Gathering and sharing online resources to assist our partners, aspirers, supporters and friends


Hosting regular online gatherings and webinars to share best practice and catch up with our partners, supporters and friends

Scoto Icon T

SCOTO is currently members of

Alasdair Nicholson, Point & Sandwick Trail, Adviser

“A path is much more than just a path. It is the infrastructure for accessing all sorts of opportunities. The path is a route to interesting and beautiful places, a way of reminding ourselves about our local heritage, and an incentive to do some healthy exercise.”

Lucy Conway, Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust

"On Eigg, we're proud of the fact that we are community-owned, that we generate all our electricity from renewable sources and want to be carbon zero by 2030. We ensure visitors have the best experience and know the money they spend here is invested back into the future of our island."