The Glasgow School of Art is no stranger to awards but it now has a top tourism accolade to add to its list of honours. The GSA’s newest halls of residence, Blythswood House - which offers visitors to the city accommodation during the summer months - has scooped VisitScotland’s highest possible quality grading to be named a 5-Star Hostel.
Situated at Blythswood Square, less than 5 minutes’ walk from the main the GSA campus, Blythswood House was specially converted for students of The GSA and opened in September 2015. The halls, which have space for 216 residents across six floors, are bright and airy with a contemporary feel. The property offers a small selection of one or two bedroom suites with private bathroom and kitchen/ lounge area with double rooms, and flats with 6-8 bedrooms all with ensuite bathrooms and large single beds.
The national tourism organisation’s top Quality Assurance Hostel designation, which recognises the excellence of the standards at Blythswood House, was awarded to the halls of residence following its first-ever assessment visit – making the achievement all the more special.
5-Star awards - which are only bestowed on businesses offering an outstanding visitor experience - are valuable marketing assets which help recipients promote the excellence of their facilities and services.
The VisitScotland Quality Assurance scheme, which has been developed and improved over 30 years, provides visitors with an independent, impartial and trusted guide to standards. Delivered by a dedicated team of experts who offer scheme members advice and support on how to not only meet visitor expectations but exceed them, the scheme aims to drive standards and encourage excellence whilst helping businesses reach their full potential and secure their success. That in turn delivers great results for Scotland’s tourism industry and economy.
Fiona Sloan, Residential Accommodation Manager, The Glasgow School of Art, said: “We’re very proud of the great standard of accommodation we have at Blythswood House for our students and it’s great that we’re able to offer the halls as visitor accommodation from over the summer from June to September. The 5-Star Hostel grading is fantastic news as it will really help us promote the property to prospective guests; the grading provides them with reassurance that they can expect high standards and won’t be disappointed so we’re really delighted to have such a prestigious award.”
In addition to ensuring it provides excellent accommodation for visitors, Blythswood House has demonstrated its commitment to ensuring they receive quality information to help them make the most of their visit to Glasgow. The halls of residence recently joined an exclusive network of VisitScotland Information Partners (VIPs) which actively promote their local area and all it offers to see and do. VIP members are provided with official ‘iKnow’ signage and collateral, promotional material and information resources so they can provide added value and enhanced services.
The VIP programme is aligned with VisitScotland’s global Spirit of Scotland campaign which aims to harness the local knowledge, warmth and enthusiasm of people across the country to share information and inspiration with visitors - enabling them to enjoy the best possible experience of Scotland.
Open to all types of quality-assured tourism businesses as well as community interest groups and social enterprises, the VIP programme has gone from strength to strength since its launch in May 2016, with accommodation providers, visitor attractions and groups across the country joining up to do their bit to share information and inspiration with visitors.
VisitScotland Regional Partnerships Director Liz Buchanan MBE said: “The Glasgow School of Art’s Blythswood House is an excellent example of how to go the extra mile and do everything possible to make visitors feel welcomed and ensure they enjoy a memorable experience. In addition to its well-deserved 5-Star grading, it’s great too that the property has taken full advantage of our Welcome Schemes for walkers and cyclists.
“We are delighted that it has now also become a member of our VIP programme in order to help guests make the most of their visit to Glasgow. All of these achievements mean that Blythswood House is a fantastic addition to the city’s accommodation offering and a real asset to our visitor offering.”
For information on Blythswood House visit:
For more details on VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance scheme, visit www.visitscotland.org/quality_assurance.aspx
Notes to Editors
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- VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
- The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
- This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
- 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
- Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
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- Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
- Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
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- The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
- Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
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- Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh) 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology
- 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
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