Tourism and sustainable development on the Isle of Eigg, Scotland

Rachel Creaney, Piotr Niewiadomski

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13 Citations (Scopus)
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Although the concept of sustainability has long permeated the literature on tourism and its development, the research on sustainability in tourism rarely reaches beyond the industry level to examine how tourism contributes to the sustainable development of a given destination in wider terms and how effective such processes can be in different economic, environmental and socio-cultural settings. The aim of this paper is to contribute to this important, yet under-developed, research agenda. The paper focuses on the Isle of Eigg – a remote community-owned Scottish island that has recently committed itself to becoming more sustainable and that seeks to rely on inbound tourism as the most important means to this end. It is demonstrated that tourism plays a key role in enhancing the economic stature of Eigg residents and that, rather than undermining, it strengthens the community cohesion on the island. Despite this, its contribution to the island's environmental sustainability cannot always be taken for granted and some trade-offs between these three kinds of sustainability cannot therefore be avoided. Moreover, economic sustainability on Eigg should not be considered synonymous with economic self-sufficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-233
Number of pages24
JournalScottish Geographical Journal
Issue number3-4
Early online date11 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note


Although this paper is not linked to any of the research carried out by, or on behalf of, the James Hutton Institute, some parts of it were written during the first author’s allocated work time. Rachel Creaney is grateful to the James Hutton Institute for giving her this opportunity. The authors would also like to thank Dr Tavis Potts (University of Aberdeen) for proofreading the first draft of the paper and providing valuable comments on its flow, structure and contents. Finally, the authors are grateful to Emily Hastings and Doug Wardell-Johnson from the James Hutton Institute for their assistance with obtaining some of the data used in this paper.


  • sustainable tourism
  • sustainable development
  • island tourism
  • Eigg
  • Scotland


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