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Visit Scotland | Alba

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What is the Quality Assurance scheme?

Quality Assurance (QA) has been running since 1985. Since then, it has successfully evolved and adapted to change. From the introduction of “star” gradings (replacing the previous crown scheme) and embedding user generated content to introducing sustainability criteria and adding Taste Our Best into the fold.

Our Schemes have provided visitors with an independent, impartial, and trusted guide to standards in Scotland, delivered by a dedicated team of experts. Our team has been central in driving up investment in the tourism product across Scotland working alongside businesses to help them maintain and improve standards.

In February 2024, we announced we’re changing the way we provide advice to businesses, moving to a digital-first approach. Our Quality Assurance (QA) schemes will come to an end on 31 March 2025.

Adapting to change

We’ll manage a transition period to retire the QA schemes and deliver a free-to-access business advice programme.

Instead of assuring a business at a single point in time, we’ll focus on the delivery of information and insight to help businesses develop the visitor experience and respond to the changing needs of visitors.

The QA Schemes include:

  • Quality Assurance star grading
  • Taste Our Best
  • Welcome Schemes
  • iKnow Partner Programme
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  • the scheme is now closed to new entrants
  • QA members will retain their current grading until 31 March 2025
  • there will be no fee for the 2024-2025 scheme year
  • our schedule of visits for the 2023-2024 scheme year will continue to be managed through face-to-face and digital for the next few months
  • the QA schemes will be retired on 31 March 2025

We’ll continue to play an important role in providing quality advice to businesses, helping to drive up the quality of Scotland’s tourism product and the visitor experience. This is crucial if Scotland is to meet its ambition to be a world leader in 21st century tourism.

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