Historic Environment Scotland denies ‘ban’ on tour guides using non-inclusive words at Edinburgh Castle


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It comes after a Tory MSP criticized Historic Environment Scotland (HES) – which is in charge of some of the country’s most famous tourist attractions, such as Edinburgh Castle and Linlithgow Palace – after the newspaper reports of a “ban” on non-inclusive language.

Borders-based Scottish Conservative MSP Rachael Hamilton said: ‘By telling staff not to use these completely normal words and phrases, HES has only ensured that staff will spend more time guessing at each other than interacting with them. visitors to Scotland’s most famous attractions.

Rachael Hamilton MSP had criticized Heritage Environment Scotland for claiming to have banned non-inclusive language

“They should ditch that stifling advice and allow employees to do their jobs and speak freely and naturally about the topics they know best.”

But HES said there was no ban and that the advice that triggered the attack was a single sheet of paper produced by HES’s LGBT+ network for colleagues, designed to be useful, and not was part of any manual or set of instructions.

The guide states: “Our teams in contact with visitors are the key to the success of our organization. They help us welcome millions of people to our sites every year.

“An essential part of this excellent customer service is avoiding making assumptions about people and adapting our communication to be as inclusive as possible. This allows everyone to have a positive and enjoyable experience with us.

“Using inclusive language respects all of our customers, regardless of gender, personal circumstances or any other characteristic. This helps us to give our visitors the best and most welcoming service we can offer and to treat everyone fairly.

“The most important thing is to avoid assuming that you can accurately tell someone’s gender or origin. It’s best to use gender-neutral and inclusive language so that everyone feels welcomed and respected.”

The sheet then offers examples of inclusive language that could be used by tourist guides. Instead of welcoming “ladies and gentlemen”, he suggests: “Hello everyone and welcome to the castle”.

Rather than addressing visitors as “sir/ma’am,” he suggests, “Would you like an audio guide, folks? or “Would you be interested in a guided tour?” And instead of talking about “son/daughters” or “boys/daughters”, he suggests: “Would the children in your group like some quiz sheets? »

He also recommends that instead of saying “mom/dad”, they can say “adults” or “adults”.

A spokesperson for HES said: “Our guidance for visitor operations staff does not categorically prohibit the use of words or phrases – they give some examples of commonly used language and suggest more inclusive alternatives. This is to ensure that our staff can avoid assuming a person’s background and use inclusive language so that everyone feels welcomed and respected.

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