THE VOLUNTARY TEAM behind Moray’s interactive science and technology centre are celebrating a four-star visitor attract award from VisitScotland.
Kinloss-based Morayvia was formed in 2011 by local people determined to preserve the work that had begun with the Nimrod Heritage Group, preserving the last remaining Nimrod, XV244, in Moray.
The original plan very quickly grew into what is now Moray’s Science and Technology Experience Project – bringing aerospace and astronomy, technology and arts-related activities under one roof.
Prince Philip has been a supporter of local efforts to establish an aerospace visitor centre in Moray, particularly with the closure of RAF Kinloss in 2010, and Morayvia has several Royal connections – including formally changing the name of the last surviving Nimrod in Scotland, which it purchased in 2012, to Duke of Edinburgh.
Developed and improved for over 30 years, VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance (QA) schemes are world-leading and provide a trusted, independent and impartial source of information for visitors. They allow businesses not just to meet visitor expectations, but exceed them.
QA can open the door to new customers. It is a powerful marketing tool and works well with online review sites in using an independent perspective to measure visitor experience against tried and tested criteria, so visitors know exactly what to expect.
Jo Robinson, VisitScotland’s Regional Director for Moray Speyside, said: “I would like to congratulate Morayvia Chairman Mark Mair and his team of enthusiastic volunteers on their well-deserved achievement. They are providing a fantastic and unique visitor experience, which is reflected in this 4 Star award.
“I understand from our QA team that the Morayvia team were a pleasure to work with and embraced the advice they were given at their advisory visit with enthusiasm and a proactive and positive attitude – this has clearly paid off and is just the start of their exciting journey.
“This business is a perfect fit for 2016 – Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design – as it is a fantastically innovative use of a former primary school site, designing and transforming it into something new and interesting, as well as incorporating and embracing the history specific to this area.
“I hope Morayvia’s success sets an example to other businesses to join VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance scheme, which benefits tourism businesses and visitors alike. It is vital that everyone involved in tourism works together to offer visitors a fantastic experience when visiting and staying in Moray Speyside, to strengthen our tourism offering.
“Our Quality Assurance scheme helps businesses to reach their full potential and truly shine. The scheme is about more than just the ‘stars’ on the door – it’s about the entire visitor experience, about investing in your business and making it as economically sustainable as it can possibly be.”
Morayvia’s CEO, Stan Barber, said that the award was a tribute to the dedication of the volunteers who made the project happen and continue to keep it going.
He said: “The award is the culmination of years of work by Morayvia members to establish an interactive centre in Moray.
“From local volunteers who have manned our mobile aircraft cockpits and shop at events the length and breadth of the country, and have then spent many months clearing, cleaning, decorating and fitting out the former primary school into this exciting new attraction, to our members across the globe who have subscribed and made donations from afar.
“It is hard to single out individuals as Morayvia’s success reflects the efforts of many men and ladies. However, Chris Leaney, our volunteer groundsman, has tamed the overgrown exterior areas into the well-maintained lawns and flowerbeds we have today.
“On the other end of the spectrum, Digital Media Manager Paul MacLeod of ACE Winches Turriff has worked his magic online as well as dealing with the administrative side of VisitScotland’s accreditation process.
“But this has been a huge team effort led by our Chairman, Mark Mair, also of Ace Winches, Turriff, whose vision has transformed the run-down building into one that has immediate visitor appeal.”
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