Marine wildlife tour specialist Seafari Adventures, which is based at Easdale near Oban, has won VisitScotland’s top Quality Assurance award in recognition of the exceptional standard of the visitor experience it offers.
Following an incognito assessment visit by a member of the national tourism organisation’s Quality and Tourism Team, the company was accredited as a 5 star Wildlife Experience, upgrading the 4 star award it previously held.
Seafari Adventures offers a range of outstanding nature boat trips to enable visitors to enjoy the magnificent scenery and sealife in the Firth of Lorne - a European Special Area of Conservation.
The trips - on the company’s unique fleet of purpose-designed and custom-fitted open and cabin RIBs (rigid-hulled inflatable boats) - enable visitors to see a wealth of wildlife including whales, porpoises, dolphins, basking sharks, otters, golden and white-tailed sea eagles. All tours are accompanied by one of Seafari Adventures’ wildlife guides.Visitors can also take an exhilarating trip out to the mighty Corryvreckan, the world’s third largest whirlpool, or enjoy more leisurely sails to Iona and Staffa.
The team at Seafari Adventures – 14-strong in the busiest summer months – not only share a passion for their scenic environment and its wildlife but also a joy of being out on the water and a desire to help visitors learn about and appreciate all that this stunning area offers.
The driving force behind the team are retired teacher Tony Hill and his wife Jess, a former clinical audit manager, who established Seafari Adventures in 1999. Tony has 47 years of boating/diving experience and an extensive knowledge of both the West Coast of Scotland and marine wildlife tourism.
During the VisitScotland assessment visit to Seafari Adventures, a wide range of the business’s aspects were evaluated, including the standard of the tours themselves,the cleanliness of the premises, the quality of customer service, and the knowledge, efficiency and friendliness of staff.The scores achieved across the categories in the visit report secured Seafari Adventures an ‘exceptional category’ grading and VisitScotland’s most coveted quality accolade.
Seafari Adventures is now one of five 5 star Wildlife Experiences in Scotland – and one of three 5 star Wildlife Experiences in Argyll & The Isles; the other two are Mull Eagle Watch and Jenny Wren Boat Charter at Lochgilphead.Overall, Scotland has a total of 38 VisitScotland accredited Wildlife Experiences and 1282 business in the Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance (QA) scheme.
Developed and improved over the past 25 years, the QA scheme is a tourism industry world-leader, providing a trusted, independent and impartial source of information for visitors.Enabling businesses to not just meet visitor expectations but exceed them, it is delivered by a dedicated team of experts who offer valuable business advice and support. The scheme is not just about driving standards; it aims to help businesses reach their full potential so they can reap the benefits and secure their success. That in turn delivers benefits for the economy of their region and for Scotland’s tourism industry.
Tony Hill of Seafari Adventures said: “We’re absolutely delighted that VisitScotland has increased our grading and awarded us its top standards rating in recognition of the quality of the visitor experience we offer. Our 5 Star accreditation will be a great marketing tool to help us encourage more visitors to come to the area.The award is a real testimony to the hard work and efforts of every member of our fantastic team who are absolutely committed to delivering the very highest standards and ensure visitors enjoy an amazing experience here.”
David Adams McGilp, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “My congratulations go to Tony, Jess and everyone at Seafari Adventures on this very well-deserved award; their marine tours are second to none. Their unique fleet of RIBs has been specially designed to ensure passengers get the best possible views of the scenery and wildlife as well as a fantastic trip out on the water. The development work on the boats – and on Seafari’s great new touch-screen booking system - definitely reflect the business’s drive and creative resourcefulness, qualities we’re celebrating in this Year of Innovation, Architecture & Design 2016.
“Seafari’s top rating is excellent news, not only for the business but also for the region. Having three of Scotland’s 5 Star Wildlife Adventures in Argyll & The Isles further strengthens our tourism offering and increases our marketability as a destination which offers a superb and exciting range of things to see and do.”
For more information on Seafari Adventures visit: http://www.seafari.co.uk/oban/
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Notes to Editors
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- The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
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- Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland to visit different parts of the country
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- The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
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Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016
- 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
- The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the current 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
- Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
- The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
- The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
- Join the conversation at #IAD2016
- Events can join the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Partner Programme throughout the year by visiting http://www.eventscotland.org/YIAD_partner_programme