VisitScotland executive director of industry and destination development Rob Dickson presented their qualification certificates in a ceremony at the historic 16th century Riddle’s Court in Edinburgh. There were two different groups of 32 people each who qualified as Blue Badge tourist guides.
One group were halfway through their final exams when the national UK lockdown took place in March 2020 and the Scottish Tourist Guides Association (STGA) board and examiners had to find a way of dealing with this. Through a combination of Zoom meetings and continuous assessment throughout the course, the STGA enabled the trainees to qualify. The other group had already been selected for the 2020-2022 course by the time lockdown had started and, again using Zoom and other innovations, the guides were able to complete their course and qualified in April this year.
STGA chair Lyn Brown said: “I have to pay tribute to all of our new guides for their faith in the STGA and continuing with the course. Their commitment has paid off with 2022 being a bumper year for our members with huge demand for their services. It has also enabled us to strengthen our organisation and replace guides who have retired from the industry.”
Dickson added: “I would pay tribute to those people who volunteer and contribute their time and their effort and their expertise to lead and manage what STGA does. It was a particularly important organisation during the pandemic period.”