Scotland business

Glasgow 2014: Queen visits Glasgow Games venues

Games passes
Image caption The Queen and Duke were presented with their own Commonwealth Games passes

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh have been touring Glasgow Commonwealth Games venues ahead of this summer's sporting extravaganza.

The Queen was presented with an official Games pass as a patron of the event and head of the Commonwealth.

The couple also met Games organisers and saw competitors at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

The visit came as tourism bosses said the Games should act as a "springboard" for Scotland's tourism industry.

VisitScotland estimate that up to 1.5 million visitors are due to descend on the city later this month.

The tourism agency has been working with local businesses on projects aimed at boosting the economy, improving services and driving up standards.

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Media captionThe Queen and Prince Philip inspected venues and meet volunteers involved in the games

It said the Games were an opportunity to reinforce Scotland's reputation for hosting major events.

Last summer VisitScotland announced plans for a £2.5m marketing drive to promote the Games at home and abroad and encourage more visitors to Scotland.

Now with events just weeks away the focus is on the experience those visitors will be offered.

A survey by Glasgow 2014 - of 10,000 spectators - suggested about a fifth of people coming to the Commonwealth Games have never been to Glasgow before.

VisitScotland wants to build on that and ensure spectators leave the city with a desire to return.

Chief executive Malcolm Roughead said: "2014 presents a unique opportunity for Scottish tourism - not only as a chance to promote our country to a global audience, but also to leave a legacy for the industry, developing skills that will pave the way for a Scotland that is more accessible, more sustainable and even more welcoming.

"It is important that visitors coming to Scotland this year, leave impressed not just by our scenery, wildlife and landmarks but by our people and our facilities.

Image copyright Andy Buchanan
Image caption Tourism chiefs believe up to 1.5m visitors will come to Glasgow during the games

"This helps raise our standing on the international stage and makes Scotland a place of interest for visitors and for other businesses."

Glasgow Welcomes is a scheme involving more than 10,000 staff from hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, transport providers and tourist attractions in the city.

They have been given extra customer service training, up-to-date information about the best places to visit and what's on around the city, as well as facts and figures about Games venues and events.

Image copyright Other
Image caption The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome has a capacity of 5,000
Image copyright Glasgow 2014
Image caption It it believed a fifth of visitors will never have been to Glasgow before

Glasgow restaurateur, James Rusk said he found the Glasgow Welcomes online module a useful addition to his in-house training.

He said: "It has provided our staff with a unique blend of customer service guidance and destination knowledge that will further enable our staff to deliver an exceptional level of service, with specialist Commonwealth Games knowledge."

Businesses have been offered tips on how to attract more custom and boost profits by becoming more environmentally friendly.

VisitScotland's Greener Glasgow scheme aims to appeal to the 84% of visitors to the UK who say sustainability is important when they are choosing a holiday destination.

There has also been a focus on making the city more accessible to visitors regardless of their physical, sensory and learning disabilities or age.

Firms have been encouraged to produce "access statements" ahead of the Games which detail in words and pictures how visitors can get around their hotel, restaurant, shop or attraction.

Mr Roughead added: "Improving skills and standards helps attract more visitors, which in turn creates more jobs and boosts the economy. For every £50,000 spent by visitors, one new job is created.

"Tourism is one of the country's most important industries and worth £11bn to the Scottish economy, but there is the potential for further growth.

"We must use major events such as the Commonwealth Games as a significant springboard for our future."

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