Contact us on 01851 705743 or

The tourism industry in the Outer Hebrides is in line for a potential boost thanks to moves by the UK government to finally ratify the UNESCO 2003 Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.

A public consultation has been launched by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on the initial stages of implementation, focusing on defining and identifying intangible cultural heritage in the UK.

Signing up for the convention will align the UK with the 182 other UNESCO Member States that have already ratified the convention.

The Outer Hebrides has long been identified as a hotspot of intangible cultural heritage. St Kilda, Harris Tweed, and Gaelic are cited as examples of why Scotland needs a legal framework to protect its living culture.

Ratification of the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage has been observed to boost tourism in some countries. And with the Outer Hebrides already acknowledged as leaders in the community-led protection of its culture, the islands are well-placed to take full advantage of the tourism potential the status confers.

Internationally, the interest in tangible and intangible heritage has had a far-reaching impact on tourism as it enriches the cultural experience for tourists.

UNESCO’s focus on promoting intangible cultural heritage has acted as a driver for local sustainable development, including tourism

This has led to new tourism opportunities and enhanced the appeal of destinations that have ratified the convention. 

The UK Government’s consultation closes at 11.59 pm on Thursday, February 29.