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Caithness achieves WorldHost Recognised Destination status

Caithness Chamber of Commerce is delighted to announce that Caithness has become the first region in Scotland to achieve WorldHost Recognised Destination Status – a huge win for the area and a recognition of the outstanding customer service offered by businesses in the area.

WorldHost Recognised Destination status is awarded to areas where 25% of businesses achieve the WorldHost Recognised Business standard – meaning they have trained at least half of their front-line staff using WorldHost customer service training, a gold standard in customer service training.

Trudy Morris, Chief Executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce said: “We are delighted that Caithness has achieved destination status. It’s a fantastic achievement for our local businesses who have embraced this initiative and have demonstrated a commitment to be customer-focused.  Through their collective efforts Caithness is able to lead from the front and be the first region in Scotland to achieve this accolade.  We want the world to know, there is a warm welcome awaiting visitors to this area.”

She added: “Even though destination status has been achieved, the initiative is still running and businesses are encouraged to be part of the continuing success story, not just in Caithness but in Sutherland as well.”

Ellie Lamont, WorldHost Trainer, said: “It is fantastic news that Caithness has become the first county to be a WorldHost Recognised Destination in Scotland and I am delighted to have been a part of this. Caithness Chamber drove this initiative from the start and it is great to see all their hard work rewarded.”

A representative of local tourism co-operative Venture North said: “We know ourselves what a great welcome visitors get and to see the area achieve WorldHost Destination status is a just reward for everyone involved in the hospitality sector. Excellent news for the area, especially the tourism sector.”

Andrew Mackay, The Caithness Collection, said: “WorldHost has been an excellent way to train and hone our team’s skills in customer service, the training is well structured and delivered to a high standard and the effect has been very positive with great feedback from our customers. Without the Chamber’s efforts we would have been worse off both as an area and personally as a business.

“To get destination status is a fantastic accolade for the whole of the North – tourism is important for the economic wellbeing of Caithness and Sutherland and this underlines how seriously we take it as we promote our beautiful destination”

Anna MacConnell, Stakeholder Relations & Socio Economic Manager for the NDA, said: “More good news from the tourism industry in the north of Scotland.  Congratulations to all the firms and to the Chamber for showing the way.  The NDA is pleased to have been able to support this excellent work to continuously improve the local leisure and business tourism product.”

Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Business, Energy and Tourism for the Scottish Government commented: “It is clear from the recent VisitScotland Visitor Survey that those working in the Scottish tourism industry continue to play a vital role in its success.

“The WorldHost Destination initiative helps businesses to upskill their workforce and maximise the benefits that a high quality visitor experience can offer and in doing so it is helping to shape our future tourism offer.

“I would like to offer my congratulations to those in Caithness behind this achievement. As the first region in Scotland to achieve WorldHost Destination status, they have put Caithness firmly on the map.”

Viscount Thurso, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “I would like to congratulate the Chamber on all their efforts in leading the charge to secure this prestigious recognition for Caithness. It is a real accomplishment for Caithness to be the first region in Scotland to be recognised and I am delighted to see it leading the way in high quality customer service.

“As I take up my post as Chairman at VisitScotland, I am reminded that it really is the people of Scotland who make the tourism industry what it is today, and this recognition demonstrates that the tourism industry in Caithness is leading from the front to deliver a world class offering in customer service.”

Caithness Chamber of Commerce has been leading the charge to gain Recognised Destination status, offering subsidised training to help businesses train their customer-facing employees. The project first started in 2013, with funding made available by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority through the “Make the Right Connections” programme, and recently through a new initiative run by People 1st with funding from Skills Development Scotland.

The accolade establishes Caithness on the map as a top destination for customer service, demonstrating the commitment of businesses throughout the region to providing the very best service to residents and visitors alike.