Protecting Scotland's marine life
McKinlay Kidd was the first tour operator in the UK to offer fully packaged tours including a whale watching element in Scotland, something we are very proud of. Our pledge for 2020 is therefore to support the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) to help conserve whales, dolphins and porpoises in Western Scotland. We will do this by raising awareness amongst our clients (particularly those travelling to the Isle of Mull) about the organisation, local whale and dolphin species and the need to protect them.
We will promote HWDT’s activities, research and educational programmes on our website and social media channels reaching around 8,000 people. In the holiday documentation we provide our clients travelling to the Isle of Mull (approximately 240 people per year), we will also include information about HWDT’s discovery centre, their “Whale Track” app and local whale and dolphin species.
With this commitment, our clients can learn more about local marine life and be given the opportunity to contribute to research into the protection of cetaceans and dolphins by reporting sightings during their holiday. We hope that this in turn will help enhance their experiences with these amazing creatures and provide special memories to treasure for ever.
Pledge Testimonial Summary
Our 2019 pledge was to support the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust by promoting their activities and raising awareness towards whale and dolphin protection. In this testimony, we look back at what we have achieved and the challenges we were confronted with.
Protecting Scotland’s marine life – McKinlay Kidd’s 2019 Pledge Testimonial
To reflect on the outcomes of our 2019 pledge, let’s take a look at John’s story…
John visited the Isle of Mull with McKinlay Kidd in August 2019. Prior to departure, we provided John with some reading materials about the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) through his holiday app so he could find out more about the organisation and get excited about the species he might see on his trip. This is now standard practise for all clients embarking on a whale-watching holiday to Mull.
Whilst on holiday, John got extremely lucky and saw minke whales, common dolphins, and even a basking shark! McKinlay Kidd suggested downloading HWDT’s “Whale Track” app however, John did not download it. Instead, he enjoyed looking at the local species identification information provided in his holiday documentation. After his boat tour, John followed our recommendation and visited the HWDT’s discovery centre – he found it fascinating! John is an avid supporter of wildlife charities and thanks to his experience with the HWDT, he is making future plans to volunteer with them.
Through the holiday documentation provided to over 200 of our clients who travelled to Mull in 2019, we have raised awareness of the HWDT, their discovery centre and their whale sighting app. We also dedicated a section of our website and social media to the HWDT. We measured the success of this by collecting testimonies from a sample of clients who visited the Isle of Mull this summer (including John).
We found it challenging to measure the outcome of our pledge. We therefore realise going forward it would be beneficial to design a better measurement tool. Our 2019 AITO survey highlighted that 44.3% of respondents are not aware of McKinlay Kidd’s environmentally-friendly vision and actions. We will thus aim to raise more awareness towards our commitment to sustainability in the future.
As the first tour operator in the UK to offer fully packaged tours including a whale watching element, we are happy with how our pledge has been received and are excited for the future.