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Smells like Teen Tourism

Press Release   •   Dec 17, 2018 11:36 GMT

Lucy Hensman, Eryn Marshall, Imogen McLeod, Damien McAleese from Lornshill Academy in Alloa, Clackmannanshire were QTAs for the day at Highland Safaris in Perthshire.

A group of high school students got a taste of working for the national tourism organisation this week by stepping into the shoes of Quality and Tourism Advisors (QTAs) for the day.

The four pupils from Lornshill Academy in Alloa, Clackmannanshire, visited Highland Safaris in Perthshire to gain first-hand experience at the Scottish tourism industry’s frontline.

The visitor attraction, near Aberfeldy, has already been given a five-star rating by VisitScotland’s quality experts and managed to pass the tough standards of teenage judges Eryn Marshall, Lucy Hensman, Imogen McLeod and Damien McAleese (all aged 13) during the visit last week.

They went for an exciting forest safari in a six-wheel drive off-road vehicle to learn all about the Perthshire wilderness before sampling the scrumptious food on offer at the Highland Safaris café and topped their visit off at the Red Deer Centre where they were the ones doing the feeding.

The S2 students chatted with Highland Safaris directors Julie and Donald Riddell and were given QTA forms to fill out with comments and give overall ratings out of five for customer experience, food and drink, cleanliness and core experience.

The promising pupils became honourary Quality and Tourism Advisors for the day following a Hospitality and Tourism Takeover day at Forth Valley College held earlier this year, organised by education charity Springboard. Lornshill Academy was selected to receive a visit from VisitScotland Regional Director Neil Christison after showing great enthusiasm for a career in the industry with a group of young people from the school then winning the chance to review a Scottish tourist attraction of their choice.

VisitScotland’s QTAs play a pivotal role in the tourism industry. They generally carry out their assessments incognito, like a mystery shopper, but give instant feedback and advice at the end of their visit. They boast extensive knowledge and experience that they share with businesses to help progress Scotland’s tourism offering, as well as suggesting useful contacts within VisitScotland and any other relevant sources of help and advice.

Neil Christison, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “It is wonderful to see young people with a passion for tourism, if we want to continue keeping Scotland at the top of everyone’s now list we need to attract staff with the skills and desire to ensure visitors leave with lasting memories of their time here.

“Scotland is famous for many things; our stunning scenery, rich history, diverse culture and, of course, our warm welcome. These youngsters acting as Quality & Tourism Advisors for the day got to see how the tourism industry is driving our country’s world-class reputation, and what better place to do this than at the fantastic five-star Highland Safaris.

“Throughout Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 we have been celebrating the astounding talents and priceless contributions of those aged 8-26 years old. We want to inspire future generations to choose tourism as a career and join this fast-paced, exciting and vibrant industry which is the heartbeat of the Scottish economy.”

Donald Riddell, Managing Director of Highland Safaris, said: “It is wonderful to see young people engaging with tourism and recognising its importance to the Scottish economy and the career opportunities there are to drive excellent experiences for our visitors.

“At Highland Safaris, visitors are engaging with our natural environment and we offer an authentic experience with excellent standards of customer service driven by our team across all of our products. We are very proud to have consistently achieved a five-star rating from VisitScotland.

“It was a pleasure to welcome the pupils of Lornshill Academy and we were honoured to have been chosen from the huge variety of excellent attractions across Scotland. Of course, we are also delighted that we retained with our five-star status from the promising group of youngsters.”

Lornshill Academy pupil Imogen McLeod, said: “It was a really great day and Highland Safaris is definitely five stars. The staff were all very welcoming and knowledgeable and it was exciting to be out in the wilderness and then feeding the red deer.

“We got to experience what it is like working in the tourism industry and being a VisitScotland Quality and Tourism Advisor in particular which was fun and helps us for our future.”

Throughout 2018, VisitScotland has been highlighting the valuable role of young people in the country’s thriving tourism and hospitality sector. Future Focus, inspired by Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, profiles a number of young tourism ambassadors by exploring their journeys working in the industry across a broad range of sectors. The campaign aims to encourage businesses and organisations to celebrate young employees and inspire future generations to consider tourism as a career. Watch our young tourism ambassadors talk about their experience here.

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 five overarching strategies: Marketing, Events, Quality and Sustainability, Inclusive Tourism, International Engagement.
  • 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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2018 Year of Young People

  • A global first, YoYP 2018 is a part of the Scottish Government’s themed-year programme which focuses on celebrating Scotland’s greatest assets.
  • A year-long programme of events and festivals are taking place across the whole of the country for all ages to enjoy, led by EventScotland part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. More information at
  • EventScotland is working with the events and festivals sector to develop an exciting portfolio of Year of Young People 2018 public-facing events which provide opportunities for young people to express themselves through a wide range of activity.
  • Local authorities, schools, youth groups and organisations are running their own YoYP 2018 activity. Search #YOYP2018 on Twitter for the latest news.Young people co-designed the Year. A group of young leaders, Communic18, lead on all key decision making. More than 380 Ambassadors are championing activity.
  • The Year is delivered in partnership between the Scottish Government, VisitScotland and EventScotland - part of the VisitScotland Events Directorate, Young Scot, Scottish Youth Parliament, Children in Scotland, YouthLink Scotland and Creative Scotland.
  • More information can be found at, searching @YOYP2018 #YOYP2018 on Twitter or by emailing