18th April is World Heritage Day. Scotland is home to six recognised World Heritage sites, as diverse as Scotland itself.
“World Heritage Sites are locations that have been included in the UNESCO World Heritage Programme list of sites of outstanding cultural or natural importance to the common heritage of humankind.” We have six in our tiny country. That alone is an indication of the diversity and potential inherent in Scotland and its people.
From St Kilda in the far West, an area of area of outstanding natural beauty and bio-diversity to the Forth Rail Bridge in the East, a feat of engineering and a testament to the abilities and determination of humanity. Our world renowned sites also include Edinburgh Old Town and New Town, the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, New Lanark and the Antonine Wall.
Scotland is a small nation, but one with an incredible past and natural beauty. Tourism is already a key industry for Scotland’s livelihood, but it has the potential to be so much more, people just need to take advantage of what’s on our doorstep.
Andrew McAlindon is a brilliant example of the incredible careers and opportunities that tourism can offer. At 40 years old he has been able to give up his career as an electrician to launch a new business as a tour guide and is having to turn away business because he is so busy.
Tour guide isn’t the only job that tourism and heritage can offer to people. Behind-the-scenes staff are essential for any tourist destination to run successfully. This can range from administrator to stone mason, marketing manager to country-side ranger, chef to trained restoration specialist.
Scotland currently attracts nearly 15million overnight visitors a year (that’s almost triple the population of Scotland) that means a lot of jobs and opportunities. Some jobs require specific qualifications, but there are lots of different routes into a career in tourism, everything from apprenticeships (modern and graduate) to university degrees. Whatever works for you, if you have the soft skills and the determination you can build yourself a successful career in tourism.