The Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA), the body which represents the interests of the visitor attractions sector in Scotland, is encouraging residents and holidaymakers alike to get out and about and enjoy Scotland’s world-class attractions over the half-term holidays and beyond.
The sector has fully embraced the UK-wide ‘We’re Good to Go’ scheme, with 460 visitor attractions across Scotland having signed up to the industry standard and mark which aims to provide reassurance to visitors that clear COVID-19 processes are in place and that they are ready to welcome visitors in a safe and compliant manner. Measures introduced at attractions include: pre-booked, timed entry to limit capacity and gather contact tracing details; 2m physical distancing; one-way routes to control visitor flow; additional hand sanitising stations and directional signage; sneeze-screens; enhanced cleaning regimes; and contactless payment facilities. In line with the most recent Scottish Government advice, face coverings are also required in all indoor spaces.
ASVA Chief Executive Gordon Morrison said: “Looking at the news just now, the public could be forgiven for feeling that this is not the time to be visiting attractions, that they could be unsafe and that visiting could put people in danger of contracting the virus. In fact the opposite is true! There have been zero cases of COVID-19 linked to attractions in Scotland to date. Not only are attractions operating with the most rigorous of measures in place to ensure maximum visitor safety, but there has actually never been a better time to get out and explore the wealth of great experiences our sector has to offer. With restrictions limiting visitor numbers, those who do visit our attractions will find themselves in a pretty unique environment, with more opportunities to explore and experience sites without the usual hustle and bustle associated with visiting in the October holidays. Not only do attractions have in place the most rigorous of safety measures, they are still operating at 2m physical distancing, so there is no chance of overcrowding.
“Many attractions have also taken the opportunity presented by lockdown to develop new, creative solutions to telling their story while keeping people safe. For example, the National Mining Museum Scotland has introduced a new digital tour, allowing visitors to independently explore the museum following a new route and one-way system around the site. Edinburgh’s Mercat Tours have introduced a new TourTalk device where visitors bring their own earphones and can hear the storyteller through the device, which helps with physical distancing. At Camera Obscura & World of Illusions, providing all staff members with unique, illusion-based face coverings, has been key in the attraction’s approach to ensuring the safety of everyone while keeping the element of fun in their visitor experience, and at Highland Safaris in Perthshire, Rua the Red Deer is on hand to provide safety tips throughout the visit!”
“There has never been a better time for Scottish and British people to visit. With numbers being limited, and very few international visitors, it really is a great time for our citizens to rediscover the wonderful sites on their doorsteps”.
Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “It’s been a really challenging time for everyone recently and whilst we are facing more restrictions to supress the virus, folk can still get out and support their local attractions that are safe to visit and enjoy.
“Many visitor attractions are ‘Good to Go’ and follow the most stringent of coronavirus safety measures. It’s an ideal time to explore your local area and all it has to offer, and perhaps discover some of Scotland’s most beautiful spots right on your doorstep.”
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said: “While the new restrictions announced by the Scottish Government will affect many about to enjoy the October holidays, we’d like to remind everyone that visitor attractions remain open. Our number one priority is to support the tourism and events industry and with more than £96 million spent at attractions around Scotland in 2019 and more than 8000 people directly employed in the industry, we encourage Scots to support this vital part of the visitor economy.
“The recovery of our sector will require our collective efforts and we must act as one to ensure the best possible outcomes for the whole of the visitor economy.”
Visitors should look out for the ‘We’re Good to Go’ mark at attractions and online.