Industry Panel

Rebecca Brooks

Rebecca Brooks - Chair


Managing Director of Abbey Tours Scotland. She has worked in international tourism for the last fifteen years, a former director of JAC Travel and current Managing Director of Abbey Tours Scotland, a leading destination management company. As such, her experience has been formed on all international inbound markets to Scotland and the UK. Rebecca is also a Director of European Travel Services, recently acquired by the Abbey Group. She has served as a former Chair of the Scottish Destination Management Association and is currently a Director of the Scottish Tourism Alliance.

Rebecca joined VisitScotland as a Board Member and became Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel in 2016.

Fiona Richmond

Fiona Richmond - Vice Chair

Scotland Food & Drink

Fiona Richmond has been actively promoting and supporting quality food and drink production for more than 12 years, working with industry leadership body Scotland Food & Drink since 2009 managing various projects across foodservice; sourcing at major events and currently the Year of Food and Drink campaign. She previously worked with the Slow Food movement, including a period in the international headquarters in Italy, remains an active member of Slow Food Scotland and is the Scottish representative on the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark standards committee. She has an honours degree in Sociology and a Masters in Social Research Methods.

Stephen Carter

Stephen Carter OBE

The Old Course Hotel

Stephen Carter is recognised in the hospitality industry as a consummate host, a passionate hotelier and believer in his people. He has dedicated his career, which spans over forty years, to championing higher standards of service in some of the UK's leading hotels and resorts, largely for American owned companies.

Stephen served as Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards panel from 2014 - 2016.

Marc Crothall

Marc Crothall

The Scottish Tourism Alliance

Marc has more than 30 years experience in the Hospitality, Sport & Leisure industries both in the UK and South Africa working for organisations such as The Compass Group, Whitbread, The NEC Group, and Freedom of the Glen and Sheraton Hotels. A rugby fanatic and loyal supporter of Glasgow Warriors - Marc loves all things Scottish especially the food. All five of his children have been born in Scotland so he considers himself an adopted Scot!

Marina Huggett

Marina Huggett

Highland & Islands Tourism Awards and HIT Scotland

Marina is Director of the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, and Executive Board Director of the Scottish Tourism Alliance and a Trustee of HIT Scotland and is on the Board of Visit Inverness Loch Ness. She is Chairperson of the Achnagairn Estate an events venue near Inverness which has 60 bedrooms, Ballroom and a restaurant Table Manors on the Estate. In 2010 she was presented with the Highland Business Women’s Club Ambassador Award. Marina has run her own tourism development business since 1996.

John Lunn, sportscotland

John Lunn


Bio coming soon

Ben Mardall 2

Ben Mardall

Wild Scotland

Ben's enthusiasm for wildlife and the countryside has influenced his career and personal life.  He brings a wealth of experience in wildlife tourism, including Head Ranger at the Scottish Deer Centre in Fife, Tourism & Commercial manager for Buccleuch Estates, in the Scottish Borders and running his own Rural Tourism Consultancy, across Scotland.

Ben is currently working with the Falkirk Community Trust, developing the Helix Park, home to the Kelpies. He is passionate about helping local people and communities bring economic benefits and employment to rural areas through the development of sustainable businesses. He was a founder of a social enterprise, helping disabled people gain meaningful work in Aberdeen.

Paul Waterson

Paul Waterson

Scottish Licenced Trade Association

Paul Waterson has worked in his family's long established licensed trade business for over 40 years. During that time he has ran the family's Pub and Hotel Estate as well as Nightclubs and Off Sales. He has been a member of The Scottish Licensed Trade Association for more than 30 years. He was elected National President of The S.L.T.A. in 1996 and in 1998 he was re-elected for an unprecedented third term.