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Going starry-eyed in Shetland


Two Shetland arts and craft businesses have been awarded 4-Star Quality Assurance (QA) status by the national tourism organisation.

Glansin Glass was awarded its Visitor Attraction/Activity Provider QA award, and Sarah Kay Arts achieved its Tourist Shop award. Both achieved four stars at their first ever grading visit.

Located on Unst, the most northerly island in the UK, Glansin Glass is a fused glass business. Although operating for a number of years, owner Cheryl Jamieson created a newly-built visitor centre incorporating a studio, shop and toilets, which was completed during lockdown.

Glass artist Cheryl promotes Unst and other Shetland islands through her designs and uses reclaimed items from local beaches in her work. She designs and makes unique glassware including jewellery, tableware and art pieces and runs glass craft workshops for all ages.

Cheryl said:“Customers can view my glassware, learn more about how it’s made, and then have a go making something themselves. The classes have been extremely popular, and it’s amazing to see all the happy faces with their beautiful creations.” 

Based in Scalloway, Sarah Kay also gathers a lot of her material from Shetland beaches. She recycles these items and creates a range of jewellery, artwork and crafts inspired by the islands and the aurora borealis – or mirrie dancers - for which Shetland is renowned.

Sarah also has a garden that visitors and customers can visit, created using items gathered from beaches and upcycled. 

Items from both Glansin Glass and Sarah Kay Arts are stocked in Lerwick iCentre, as part of VisitScotland’s Shop Local retail initiative. Shop Local provides a unique platform for local businesses, craft makers, artists, designers and other artisans to promote and sell their products to visitors via the VisitScotland iCentre network

Sarah Kay said“My studio is located in the most stunning setting, overlooking Scalloway Castle and islands beyond. Part of the visit includes my hillside garden, full of plants to explore.”

The Quality Assurance scheme is a benchmark for exceptional quality within the tourism industry and operates across accommodation, visitor attractions and food sectors.

QA is more than just the ‘stars on the door’; it’s about the entire visitor experience, demonstrating improvement and investment within businesses right across the country.

Steve Mathieson, VisitScotland’s Development Manager for Shetland, said:“Now more than ever, we need to think bigger about Scotland – and Shetland - as a tourism destination. Delivering a quality experience that meets, and exceeds, visitor expectations is crucial, instilling pride in our businesses and in making this a must-visit, must-return destination.  “Quality Assurance can help us drive up standards across the industry, raising the bar. Our Stars represent world -class excellence, helping businesses shine, enabling visitors to make informed choices and driving investment in quality.”

For more information about Quality Assurance, visit:


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Going starry-eyed in Shetland

Two Shetland businesses achieve Quality Assurance awards

Asset type post
ID 117842
Word count 597 words


Licence Editorial A Licence to use assets for editorial purposes, which is, to illustrate an event or story in an article but not commercially such as marketing a product or print ad. An Editorial asset may show a brand, a trademarked logo or product, a public personality, or recognisable people, without a signed release or with limited releases. When you use VisitScotland Editorial content you do so to illustrate Scottish tourism in a positive way.
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