Visitor Attractions


Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Grading Scheme

The VisitScotland Quality Assurance Grading Scheme for Visitor Attractions has been developed with three primary objectives:

  • To provide visitors with the means to easily identify the quality of the overall visitor experience offered by operators.
  • To help attraction operators market themselves more effectively by providing an official independent endorsement of their Visitor Attraction and provide a business tool which supports achievement of excellence in customer service, hospitality and quality.
  • To encourage and support improvements in standards throughout the industry.

The scheme is available for all types of Visitor Attractions, Activity Providers, Activity Centres, Arts Venues and Tour Operators that offer a visitor experience.


Below you will find guidance notes on award bands and scoring and details of what is assessed during the Quality Assurance visit.


Guidance Notes for Visitor Attractions

All Visitor Attractions that offer a visitor experience, this includes museums, castles, historic attractions, wildlife experiences, gardens, distilleries etc.


PDF download image   Guidance notes for Visitor Attractions - size 2.92mb

Guidance Notes for Activity Centres

Centre based activities, e.g. swimming pool, paintball, karting, horse-riding etc. 


PDF download image  Guidance notes for Activity Centres - size 3.27mb


Guidance Notes for Activity Providers

Adventure activities and extreme sports, e.g. kayaking, bungee jumping, mountaineering, ice climbing etc.


PDF download image  Guidance notes for Activity Providers - size 2.76mb


Guidance Notes for Tour Operators

Walking tours, city centre tours, wildlife tours, bus tours for varying durations of trip.


PDF download image  Guidance notes for Tour Operators - size 1.78mb


Guidance Notes for Venues

Theatre, arts centres and performance venues.


PDF document Guidance notes for venues - size 3.17mb


Guidance Notes for Shopping Experience

All operators that provide a dedicated retail experience for visitors, e.g. garden centres, shopping centres, dedicated tourist shops etc.


PDF download image  Guidance notes for shops - size 3.11mb


PDF download image  Guidance notes for shopping centres - size 2.69mb



Taste Our Best

Taste Our Best is VisitScotland's Quality Assurance food and drink scheme. In addition to recognising and raising quality standards, the scheme has been designed to stimulate the use and promotion of Scottish produce.

Visitor Attractions are eligible for the award and membership is free.


PDF document Taste Our Best criteria and guidance notes for visitor attractions - size 298kb


For further advice on how to promote the provenance of your food offer to help you achieve Taste Our Best see our Promoting Provenance guide:

PDF document Promoting Provenance - Visitor Attraction - size 2mb



Sustainability Assessment

According to our latest research over 94% of quality assured tourism businesses in Scotland are already implementing sustainability activity with most focusing on:

  • Promotion of natural and cultural heritage
  • Energy efficiency
  • Waste management

Attractions and Activity venue providers are required to implement at least 12 out of (up to) 38 sustainability actions. These will be reviewed to achieve the minimum standards for Quality Assurance. In 2019 this will increase to 15 actions.


PDF document Sustainability Actions for Visitor Attractions - size 294kb



Welcome Schemes

A range of Welcome Schemes has been developed by VisitScotland to complement our Quality Assurance Scheme. VisitScotland's Welcome Schemes recognise the efforts of quality assured businesses to cater for the needs of visitors with specific interests. Assessment is based on the provision of facilities and services and recognises efforts made by operators to provide for visitors.


View the Welcome Scheme criteria documents and application form.



Digital support

Find out how you can promote your business through digital platforms including We provide support to businesses in the form of our business surgeries and digital reviews to help you take advantage of your digital marketing options.


In addition to the support we can provide, the Digital Tourism Scotland website is an essential resource for any businesses looking to use digital marketing and technology to grow their business.


Find out more about our business surgeries, digital reviews and Digital Tourism Scotland here.

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