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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 26/09/2019

The high quality of visitor experience on offer in the Lothians was recognised this week as our Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead met with local five star Quality Assured tourism businesses as part of an annual Listening Tour of the country.

A partnership meeting between VisitScotland and East Lothian Council took place at The Bonnie Badger in Gullane, part of the Kitchin Group, which recently achieved the five star restaurant with rooms Quality Assurance award and our Taste Our Best award, which celebrates businesses who serve up locally sourced, quality food and drink.

Luxury B&B Garleton Lodge nestled between Haddington and Gullane, and Belhaven Bay Caravan and Camping Park near Dunbar, are also recent additions to the five star offering in East Lothian.

Mr Roughead and East Lothian Council Chief Executive Angela Leitch were joined by representatives from the Scottish Seabird CentreGlenkinchie Distillery and Foxlake Adventures, a selection of the five star Quality Assurance businesses operating in the region. 

Our Quality Assurance Scheme is a benchmark for quality across the tourism industry and operates across accommodation, visitor attractions and food sectors.

Tourism is at the very heart of economic success in East Lothian – it is vital to the Scottish economy, reaching every corner of the country, creating jobs and bringing economic and social change.

East Lothian’s reputation as a total quality destination relies on continued investment and innovation to ensure that current provision meets future demand. I was delighted to meet with a wide range of businesses in the region today, all showcasing the best of what the region has to offer – from its high-quality accommodation, food and drink and visitor attractions to its reputation as a top destination for international sporting events.

The aim of this visit to was to meet industry and cultural leaders, and owners to discuss how we could continue to capitalise on the wealth of opportunities and maximise the impact on the visitor economy.

VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead

With a wide variety of attractions and high-quality hospitality businesses, East Lothian continues to be a popular destination for visitors. From golf and outdoor activities, to culture, history and food and drink, East Lothian has it all. The fact that we are home to a number of five star Quality Assurance tourism businesses is a direct reflection of the standard of our local offering, which caters to different tastes for visitors from far and wide. This meeting is an opportunity for VisitScotland, East Lothian Council and local businesses to discuss and look for further opportunities to ensure tourism continues to be a driver of a successful East Lothian economy.

John McMillan, Cabinet Spokesperson for Economic Development and Tourism

We’re absolutely delighted for The Bonnie Badger to be awarded five stars from VisitScotland for our ‘restaurant with rooms’, only six months after opening. Our aim was always to bring a very special food and hospitality experience to East Lothian and it is lovely to be acknowledged in this way. An enormous amount of work went in to restoring and renovating the old inn prior to opening and I am very proud of our team and everyone who was involved in making The Bonnie Badger happen. We will continue to invest in the property and in our team and we look forward to welcoming guests from near and far to enjoy this beautiful region of Scotland and hopefully introduce them to all the great produce we have here.

Chef Kitchin of the The Bonnie Badger

We are immensely proud of our Quality Assurance award, and we know that customers also recognise it as a hallmark of parks which strive to deliver the very best holiday experiences.

The Quality Assurance Scheme is especially important to us because it assesses not just the quality of what we provide, but also the standards of hospitality and service on offer.

Mick Kerr, General Manager for Belhaven Bay Caravan Park and Tantallon Parks

Angela and I are delighted that VisitScotland continue to recognise our efforts to provide exceptional guest care, service and hospitality with their five star Quality Assurance Award for Garleton Lodge.

With both Garleton Lodge and our handmade chocolate business – The Chocolate Stag – now established, our next exciting project will be the introduction of a Cookery School aimed at showcasing not only Angela’s cooking but also East Lothian’s abundance of food and drink producers.

David Cockerton, Owner of Garleton Lodge

Amongst his appointments on his Listening Tour in the Lothians, Mr Roughead also visited The Centre in Livingston to meet with representatives from West Lothian Council, as well as Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian to launch a series of new foreign language leaflets.