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Morayvia's Science and Technology Experience Project (STEP) is a project to bring together a number of disciplines from aerospace and astronomy to technology and arts-related activities into a single centre of excellence in Moray, but serving the northeast of Scotland, the Highlands and beyond.
Morayvia (Registered Charity SC042895)
We are delighted to announce the the following press release to announce our achievement of the VisitScotland 4 star visitor attraction rating, which demonstrates our commitment to our visitors and delivering an excellent experience for all.
We are all really pleased to have achieved this, and having only opened the centre less than a year ago, this achievement could not have been made possible without the help and assistance of our volunteers, and VisitScotland.
An interactive science and technology centre in Moray Speyside has achieved its 4 Star Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance award from the national tourism organisation.
Kinloss-based Morayvia was formed in May 2011 to take forward work started by the Nimrod Heritage Group, to preserve the last remaining Nimrod at Kinloss – XV244 and to record and commemorate the long and fascinating history of military aviation in Moray.
Morayvia’s Science and Technology Experience Project (STEP), which is delivered and developed by volunteers, is aiming to bring together a number of disciplines – from aerospace and astronomy to technology and arts-related activities – into a single visitor centre of excellence serving the North-east of Scotland, the Highlands and beyond.
Guides range from experienced aircrew or engineers who flew many of the exhibits when they were in service, to aerospace experts. Visitors in the first year of opening have surpassed expectations and there are now long-term plans for the continued expansion and improvement of the current site.
Morayvia’s growing collection of exhibits includes a complete Sea King SAR helicopter, cockpits from a Nimrod, Jet Provost and Vampire aircraft, a former military Green Goddess fire engine and a Commer fire engine. Visitors can learn about aviation history, and what it was like to be flying in stormy conditions on a rescue mission, or hanging from a winch wire about to land on the deck of a fishing vessel.
There is also a mobile planetarium/wrap-around projection dome. This area is currently being transformed, with the aim of making it available for conferences and presentations, with the potential to seat 100+. There is also a gift shop for visitors.
Prince Philip has been a supporter of local efforts to establish an aerospace visitor centre in Moray Speyside, particularly with the closure of RAF Kinloss in 2010, and Morayvia has several Royal connections, includingformally changing the name of the last surviving Nimrod in Scotland, which it purchased in 2012, to Duke of Edinburgh.
Another recent addition at the centre is a Highlander Rapid Intervention Vehicle (RIV), used at airports as first responder to an emergency. This vehicle has come from Highlands and Islands Airports limited in the Western Isles and visitors will be able to climb on board to pull on jackets and helmets, or sit behind the wheel of this mammoth vehicle. Visitors will also be able to stand behind the roof-mounted Carmichael foam spreader and pretend to tackle a blaze.
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.”
Stan Barber, CEO at Morayvia, said:
“The award of a VisitScotland 4 Star Visitor Attraction is the culmination of years of work by Morayvia members, to establish an interactive centre in Moray Speyside. 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.”
For more information on VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance scheme, please visit www.visitscotland.org/quality_