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Tourist Guides Lead The Way

30th May 2006

Photograph of Tourist Guides Lead The Way

Future visitors to Caithness and Sutherland will benefit from the hard work and achievements of 11 newly-qualified professional Tourist Guides.

The successful candidates were presented with their Scottish Tourist Guides Association (STGA) Affiliate certificates and badges at a recent awards ceremony at the Portland Arms Hotel, Lybster.

They had completed a rigorous course over the last few months to demonstrate their in-depth knowledge of the Caithness and Sutherland area, and also their skills in communicating with groups of tourists to our area, in a variety of settings including walking tours and bus tours.

The group includes one Tourist Guide able to guide in both English and German and one in English and French - all qualifying for the Green Badge; there is also a Yellow Badge holder who is accredited for her guiding skills and knowledge associated with guiding at Pulteney Distillery.

The entire group are trailblazers for the area, being the first fully accredited Tourist Guides able to provide a quality-assured service for the increasing number of visitors, such as the cruise ships coming into Scrabster.

Anne Sutherland, head of skills development at Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE) said, "CASE has funded the entire programme of courses and is impressed with the demanding standard required and the hard work of the candidates in achieving the qualification. Visitors come to our area because of its special qualities of environment and history, and we need knowledgeable Guides to make sure that the visitor gets a high standard of service and experience. Our new Green Badge and Yellow Badge Guides will certainly be able to provide that level of service."

Doreen Boyle, general manager of the Scottish Tourist Guides Association, said "We are delighted to welcome our new Regional and Site Affiliates into the Association. Our trainers and assessors have really enjoyed working with this talented group and are confident that they will prove excellent ambassadors for all that the North of Scotland has to offer. We wish them a successful season ahead."

The STGA also awards the prestigious Blue Badge for Tourist Guides who are qualified to guide anywhere in Scotland - this follows an intensive two-year course in association with Edinburgh University. There are already two Blue Badge guides based in the area, and in due course, some of the newly-qualified Guides may progress to studying for this national qualification.

A further course is planned for later in the year, running over the winter period with Guides ready to provide services in the 2007 season. For further information on the work of the STGA visit their website at www.stga.co.uk

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