That's the spirit!

Mon 9 Apr 18

A Fife ghost tour which gives customers educational and historical - as well as paranormal – information has received its Quality Assurance 5* Tour award from VisitScotland.

The national tourism organisation gave St Andrews Ghost Tours its highest Quality Assurance (QA) accolade following its latest grading visit.

More widely known as the home of golf, St Andrews also boasts its fair share of ghosts. With well over 200 haunted locations and over 400 ghosts, St Andrews is, for its size, one of the most haunted locations in the world.

Founder and Tour Guide Richard Falconer set up the company in May 2014 and bases the tours on extensive research spanning five decades. His award-winning walking tours can be described as the best of both worlds, showcasing an extraordinary 1,000-year history as the backdrop to a wealth of corroborated paranormal experiences, both current and historical. Popular and informative, they include previously lost or forgotten history alongside currently unpublished material.

Since the 1970s, Richard has interviewed hundreds of people from around St Andrews and Fife, collecting and investigating eyewitness testimonies. Some of these are featured on the tour, including a few of Richard’s own experiences and experiences from the tours themselves. He has also published some of this information and the rest will be coming out in a book later in the year.

As an ideal showcase of St Andrews, the tours take in the major historic quarters including the Cathedral, Archbishops Palace and Colleges of Scotland’s oldest university.

Whether visitors are interested in history, ghosts, the sights of St Andrews or all of the above, the tours are a great way for any looking to explore and find out more about this unique part of the world.

The tours last one-and-a-half hours, run seven days a week and Richard insists that they are not sensationalist, contrived or theatrical.

Founder and tour guide Richard Falconer, who has now taken over 20,000 people on tours, said: “It is an honour to receive the 5* Quality Assurance award as it’s a fantastic accolade and is great recognition of what I have worked hard to achieve with the St Andrews Ghost Tours.

“There is, rightly, a real focus on high levels of customer service and hospitality in the tourism industry and this award shows that my customers – many of whom return time and again – can always expect that on my tours.

“Not only is this good news for my business, but it is also a positive accolade for the town of St Andrews.”

Jim Clarkson, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, said: “I am thrilled that Richard has achieved this coveted award as he is so passionate about sharing the history and stories of St Andrews with visitors.

“I hope his success sets an example to other businesses to join the 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 Fife, 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.”

For more information, visit: www.standrewsghosttours.com

For more information on VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance scheme, please visit www.visitscotland.org/quality_assurance.aspx

Richard Falconer, from St Andrews Ghost Tours, receives his award from VisitScotland strategic partnership executive, Neil Christison, left, and St Andrews iCentre staff, from left, Colin McKilop, Heather Holanek and Nicola Harrison.

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