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Press Release   •   Sep 21, 2017 11:04 BST

Liz Buchanan MBE, VisitScotland Regional Director, with Robert Baker, Operations Manager at The Thistles Shopping Centre. Photgrapher: Graham Clark

A Stirling shopping centre is celebrating after receiving a 4-star Quality Assurance rating from Scotland’s national tourism organisation.

The Thistles Shopping Centre, which is located in the city centre, was upgraded after successfully implementing all of the recommendations given by VisitScotland.

As a benchmark for quality, VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance Scheme operates across accommodation, visitor attractions and food sectors.

As well as achieving the rating, the centre has also become the newest addition to VisitScotland’s Information Partner (VIP) Programme.

The innovative scheme is designed to allow those working within the tourism industry to become local ambassadors for their town or region by providing first-class information to visitors.

Staff within the centre already provide information and inspiration to visitors by actively promoting their local area and the services offered by local businesses.

The Thistles Shopping Centre is one of around 1450 businesses across the country who have joined the partnership scheme. The popular complex give customers an unrivalled selection of over 90 shops and makes shopping an ultimate experience.

A spokesperson for The Thistles said: “This Quality Assurance award from VisitScotland is a real badge of honour for The Thistles Shopping Centre. It’s a clear sign to our shoppers that when they visit us they can expect a certain standard of service and quality. As staff regularly assist visitors with their enquiries, it felt like a natural step for us to join the VIP programme and highlight the amazing range of things to see and do in the Stirling area.”

Liz Buchanan MBE, VisitScotland Regional Director, said:

“My congratulations go to everyone at The Thistles on the outstanding achievement of the 4-star grading. It is well deserved recognition of the quality of their visitor offer, which the team is developing still further through our VIP programme by offering friendly local knowledge of other things to see and do in the area.

“These are exciting times for tourism in Stirling, with the recent opening of the Engine Shed and major investment coming into the city through the City Deal. These achievements by The Thistles show that the team is already focused on welcoming more visitors and encouraging them to get more out of their visit to Stirling.”

The programme forms part of VisitScotland’s focus on information which also includes a global online community to allow Scots and those who love Scotland to bring alive the streets, characters and landscapes of our country.

The scheme is open to all Quality Assured businesses, as well as community groups, local authority-operated library services and social enterprises. VisitScotland provides the partner sites with official signage and collateral, promotional material and information resources to make sure visitors receive an excellent standard of information about the area and the rest of Scotland. For more information, visit 

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Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • 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:
    1. 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
    2. 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
    3. 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
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. 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
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • To ensure everyone can safely enjoy Scotland’s amazing countryside and landscapes, VisitScotland encourages all visitors to fully respect their surroundings by behaving in a responsible and appropriate way.
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • 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
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • 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 or join the conversation at #HHA2017