The home of the world’s largest equine sculptures has been awarded five-stars by VisitScotland.
The Helix, an exciting parkland boasting the iconic Kelpies, received five stars from the national tourism organisation’s Quality Assurance (QA) Scheme in recognition of its exceptional standards. The QA Scheme is a benchmark for quality across the tourism industry and operates across accommodation, visitor attractions and food sectors.
Located between Falkirk and Grangemouth, the attraction is also part of an impressive network of VisitScotland Information Partners (VIPs) committed to providing local information to visitors.
Borne from an idea in 2003 to build an urban regeneration park, The Helix has transformed 350 hectares of unused land into a unique outdoor greenspace which connects 16 communities through its extensive path networks. Run by Falkirk Community Trust, it was opened in 2013 and has been a huge success with great community engagement and a phenomenal 850,000 visitors per year.
The Kelpies, two 30-metre-high stainless steel monuments, are a true feat of engineering. Designed by sculptor Andy Scott, their name is inspired by the mythological transforming beasts possessing the strength and endurance of 100 horses. A truly majestic sight, they represent the transformational and sustainably enduring qualities The Helix stands for.
As well as the world-renowned sculptures, the park offers a kilometre of new canal, multiple community projects and several high profile events such as Fire and Light. A 16-mile cycle route has also been developed which connects The Kelpies, The Falkirk Wheel and Callendar House.
Maureen Campbell, Chief Executive at Falkirk Community Trust, said: “We are thrilled to receive this five-star grading from VisitScotland. It is a true testament to the huge effort put in by the team. The Helix Project continues to grow from strength to strength and this achievement represents another special moment in its development.”
“Falkirk Community Trust is committed to developing the area and making Falkirk a must-see destination. Therefore we take great pride in being part of the VisitScotland Information Partner programme and look forward to our continued work with the national tourism organisation to make sure visitors make the most of their time here.”
Liz Buchanan MBE, Regional Partnerships Director for VisitScotland, said: “My congratulations go to everyone at The Helix for their commitment to the five star standard. The Kelpies have an international profile, and this award signals that visitors can expect an outstanding experience when they make the trip to visit.
“I’m delighted that the Helix has also joined our network of VisitScotland Information Partners. It’s another sign for visitors that they will not just get a friendly welcome, but can also talk to staff about the many other things to see and do in the Falkirk area during their stay.
“Our Quality Assurance schemes are world-leading and provide a trusted, independent and impartial source of information for visitors. The star rating reflects the entire visitor experience, as well as the investment in the business to make it as economically sustainable and profitable as it can be. The team at the Helix can be justly proud of their achievement.”
VisitScotland’s QA Schemes can open the door to new customers. It is a powerful marketing tool and works well with online review sites in using an independent perspective to measure visitor experience against tried and tested criteria, so visitors know exactly what to expect.
Launched in May 2016, the VIP programme ties in with the national tourism organisation’s global Spirit of Scotland campaign and harnesses the local knowledge, warmth and enthusiasm of partners across the country to help visitors receive the warmest of welcomes and make the most of their trip to Scotland.
For more information about the Kelpies and Helix Park go to www.thehelix.co.uk
For more details about the Quality Assurance Scheme and VisitScotland Information Partner programme go to www.visitscotland.org
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
- Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
- 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.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
- The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
- For more information visit visitscotland.com/HHA2017 or join the conversation at #HHA2017