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Women In Tourism Top 100: Dedicated Ayrshire tourism bosses recognised amongst best in Scotland


A pair of pioneering women in tourism have been recognised for their efforts in encouraging visitors to Ayrshire.

Caroline Smith, operations manager at Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, and Jill Chalmers, managing director of Glenapp Castle in Ballantrae, have been listed in this year’s Women in Tourism’s ‘Top 100 Women in Tourism’.

The inaugural Women In Tourism Top 100 was launched in July 2018, and encouraged those working in the Scottish tourism industry to nominate colleagues who go above and beyond for the sector.

Caroline Smith, who is also on the board of Ayrshire & Arran Destination Alliance, said the recognition was not only great for her and the team at the museum, but for the region as a whole.

She said: “I felt really pleased about getting some recognition; not just for me but for everything my team here at the museum do for tourism in Ayrshire and for creating great experiences for all our visitors.

“I’ve been working here at the museum for a while, and I’ve been working in tourism in Ayrshire for a while, so it was just a nice feeling of recognition.

“I’m really passionate about Ayrshire and I think it’s a fantastic place to live, work and visit.

“There’s so much good stuff going on in the region, that I think let’s start shouting about that.

“I joined the board of the Ayrshire & Arran Destination Alliance last year, and I really feel privileged to be able to have a direct input into trying to improve the economy in Ayrshire through tourism.”

Jill Chalmers, who has over 30 years experience in the hospitality industry, also scooped a special ‘Going the Extra Mile’ award for her tireless efforts throughout the pandemic.

Jill spoke out on behalf of the hospitality industry, giving over 200 leading hotels a voice when restrictions brought by the pandemic had a devastating impact on visitor numbers.

She said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have won the ‘Going the Extra Mile’ award from the Women in Tourism Top 100.

“Women In Tourism is a truly fantastic cause that strives to motivate and support women across the sector, advocating for greater gender balance within our industry.

“This is not only a notion that I feel very passionate about, but one that I dedicate much of my time to both at work and in my spare time – it is therefore a real honour that this has been recognised.”

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