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Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...
Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Understanding whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroe Islands – why change is not easy

Most people in my home country of the Faroe Islands would like to see an...

Dolphin scientists look like you and me – citizen science in action

Our amazing volunteers have looked out for dolphins from the shores of Scotland more than...
Atlantic white-sided dolphins

The Faroes dolphin slaughter that sparked an outcry now brings hope

Since the slaughter of at least 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður in my home...
Fin whale

From managing commercial slaughter to saving the whale – the International Whaling Commission at 75

Governments come together under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to make decisions...

What makes a great visitor experience?

As manager of the Scottish Dolphin Centre, I have good reason to ponder this question. It came up again this week as we were awarded a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, an accolade given to establishments who consistently get a high number of outstanding reviews.

What strikes me as interesting is that many of our reviewers didn’t actually spot any dolphins – the main aim for lots of our visitors – but they still had a fantastic day out, speaking to the volunteers who help run the centre, enjoying guided walks and tours, or a bite to eat in the café. It is clearly extremely important to visitors that they are greeted warmly by friendly, enthusiastic and informative staff. Over the past few years we have worked hard on this aspect of our offer with improved training for all staff and volunteers, and this has clearly paid off.

Image Copyright Alex Mitchell

We don’t get it right every time, but reviews and feedback help to highlight our mistakes and how we can improve.

A huge majority of our 90,000 annual visitors are very passionate about Scottish wildlife, including the amazing variety of whales and dolphins that visit these waters. This makes them very open to dropping coins and even notes into the donation box, adopting a dolphin or signing WDC petitions during their visit, including the latest one asking Richard Branson to re-think his position on selling trips to Seaworld. This is precisely why WDC run a visitor centre in this spectacular spot: to enthuse the general public about whales and dolphins and give them a chance to help WDC protect them.

I would like to say a personal thank you to the staff and volunteers who work hard to provide a smile to every visitor who comes through our doors – you are driving our success!