New tourism initiative gets on track at Edinburgh Waverley
Edinburgh students have been appointed as international tourism ambassadors at Edinburgh Waverley, Scotland’s second-busiest train station, in time for the bank holiday weekend. The partnership between Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh and Virgin Trains has seen the appointment of three QMU students as the first Student Tourism Ambassador Role Scotland (STARS) team at Edinburgh Waverley. The STARS programme has been designed to provide outstanding career development opportunities for hospitality, events and PR students by helping them develop international customer relations skills.
The partnership enhances the visitor experience on arrival at Waverley, providing positive first impressions and strengthening Scotland’s reputation as a welcoming nation. QMU students Whitney Asare Nyame, Raakshaana Gnanamurali and Ondrej Horak will serve as the first STARS welcome team for rail passengers arriving at Edinburgh Waverley during its busiest time of year. Edinburgh Waverley welcomes around six million rail passengers during the festival in August and around 25 million visitors a year.
Commenting on the launch of the STARS programme at Edinburgh Waverley, Juan Garcia, Employability and Development Adviser at QMU, said: “We’re delighted that the potential of this project has been recognised by the industry and that further work opportunities will now be available for young people in Edinburgh’s tourism sector through funding from Virgin Trains.
“QMU is very pleased to be working in partnership with Virgin Trains and Edinburgh Waverley to help welcome our visitors to the Scottish capital. The STARS programme will help provide a positive first impression and enthusiastic welcome for visitors arriving in Edinburgh this summer.” Jennifer Mearns, Virgin Trains’ station manager at Waverley, said: “This is about giving visitors to Edinburgh a special welcome, ensuring they get into the festival spirit as soon as they step off the train and get help with getting to their destination. “Virgin Trains is investing heavily in services to Edinburgh, having just added 42 additional trains between the UK and Scottish capitals per week, and we want to give all our customers a special welcome when they arrive in Scotland’s capital by train. The STARS students have been fantastic and are a great help with that welcoming touch.”
The STARS programme has also been endorsed by VisitScotland, Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “We welcome this fantastic initiative between Queen Margaret University and Virgin Trains which will give the students invaluable experience at the front-end of the tourism industry.
“Scotland’s people are at the heart of the success of Scottish tourism with the warmth of their welcome world-renowned and never more evident than during the summer festival season in our capital. Initiatives like this not only help to create opportunities for young people but keep Scotland competitive in a growing global market.” Organisers hope that the STARS programme will be rolled out even further to other universities and colleges across Scotland, and possibly expanded to other airports and rail stations.