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Dunbar Harbour # Seeing stars in Dunbar

TWO tourism businesses in Dunbar have received Quality Assurance Awards from the national tourism organisation.

The Dolphin Inn hostel received a 5-Star QA Award from VisitScotland on its first grading visit. The independent hostel is the first hostel to receive the 5-Star rating in East Lothian and one of only two across Edinburgh and the Lothians. The business opened in July 2021 and has eleven bedrooms offering a mix of double, single, bunk and family rooms. With a strong focus on sustainability, the hostel has developed key connections within the local community and recently hosted a group of international students from Flensburg University in Germany who worked with Sustaining Dunbar, a community development trust on supporting local projects.

Scotland’s oldest working brewery, Belhaven Brewery, was awarded a 4-Star Quality Assurance Award by VisitScotland. Its visitor centre, which was recognised with the award, opened for tours in 2021. It was visited by VisitScotland Director of Industry Destination Development Rob Dickson, VisitScotland Regional Director Neil Christison, East Lothian Council’s Executive Director for Place Douglas Proudfoot, Service Manager for Economic Development Jamie Baker and Team Manager Economic Development Elaine Carmichael on a recent trip to East Lothian.

VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance scheme is a benchmark for exceptional quality within the tourism industry and operates across accommodation, visitor attractions and food sectors. It covers the entire visitor experience, demonstrating improvement and investment within businesses right across the country. There are now 59 tourism businesses in East Lothian that have achieved 4- Star and 5-Star QA Awards.

VisitScotland Director of Industry and Destination Development Rob Dickson said: “Congratulations to the Dolphin Inn and Belhaven Brewery on their recent QA Awards. The 5-Star and 4-Star QA Awards are fantastic achievements for both businesses, reflecting their commitment to providing excellent customer experience. “VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance scheme represents world class excellence, helping businesses shine, enabling visitors to make informed choices and driving up investment in quality. This is fantastic news for Dunbar and for East Lothian as we look forward to the start of the traditional summer season. “Tourism benefits every region across Scotland and we’re working closely with regional partnerships to ensure communities get the most out of tourism in their area. VisitScotland is focused on building on the shoots of recovery in tourism and events, one of Scotland’s most valuable industries. Our marketing, funding and business support activities are all designed to ensure a quality experience for visitors.

Elaine Carmichael, East Lothian Council’s Economic Development Team Manager said: “We are delighted to see two more East Lothian businesses being recognised as delivering the very best experience and service for visitors by achieving these VisitScotland QA Awards – well done to both! “Tourism is a key sector which brings significant economic benefit to East Lothian and the seaside town of Dunbar is one of the main draws for visitors. The VisitScotland QA Awards are recognised by visitors looking for inspiration. It is very welcome that we will be adding Belhaven Brewery and The Dolphin Inn to those on our destination website displaying the accolade.”

Dolphin Inn owner Jo Waddell said: “The Dolphin Inn has been transformed from derelict building to five-star independent hostel over a four-year period. The vision might have been ours, but the hostel’s staff deserve so much of the credit for our day-to-day operations and five-star reviews. Dunbar is a fantastic destination and a great spot for a hostel.”

Fiona Matheson, Belhaven Brand Manager said: “We are bursting with pride to have received such good news about our beers and our brewery visitor experience this month. So much hard work goes on behind the scenes and both accolades are a tribute to our teams and the dedication and passion they bring to everything that we do here in our Dunbar home. As the summer months approach, we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors to the brewery to enjoy the experience we have on offer along with a taste of some of our -internationally winning beers.”

For more information on VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance scheme, visit:

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Seeing stars in Dunbar

Two tourism businesses in Dunbar, Scotland have received Quality Assurance Awards from VisitScotland.

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Word count 704 words


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