Industry Panel

Rebecca Brooks

A graduate of St Andrews University, Rebecca has worked in international tourism for the last twenty years. Rebecca joined VisitScotland as a Board Member and became Chair of the Scottish Thistle Awards Industry Panel in 2016. Rebecca is also a Scottish Tourism Alliance Board Director and a former Chair of the Scottish Destination Management Association.

Based in Edinburgh, Rebecca is currently Managing Director of Abbey UK, a leading Destination Management Company which is part of the Abbey Group with offices in Edinburgh, London and Dublin. As such, her experience is in international inbound markets to Scotland and the wider UK.

Marshall Bain, The Scottish Licensed Trade Association

Marshall has worked in the entertainment and hospitality industry in Scotland and Europe for some 40 years. He has been the proprietor of the Queen Charlotte Rooms in Edinburgh for 21 years and has been a stalwart supporter of The Scottish Licensed Trade Association for 15 years. Now as president he is leading The S.L.T.A.’s exciting 3 year “time for change action plan”.

His ambition is to work with the industry to highlight the importance our bars and pubs make to tourism and the Scottish economy.

Elaine Booth, Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards

Elaine has been involved in tourism and hospitality for over 40 years. Moving to Aberdeen in the early eighties, Elaine joined Allied Bakeries. She then started working with the Hotel & Catering Training Company, managing their Aberdeen office before joining local training company Hospitality Training.

Joining Scottish Enterprise’s tourism team in the mid 90’s, she has managed a variety of significant tourism projects including Scottish Enterprise’s investment into Royal Deeside and the Cairngorms and the Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership. She was seconded to the Tourism Partnership Manager, a role that managed the review of DMO’s in the region and the subsequent creation of VisitAberdeenshire. Elaine has run a small tourism business in Aberdeen for over 11 years.

Marc Crothall

Appointed as the first CEO of the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), Marc has been at its helm since its inception in 2012. He is a member of the TLG and chairs the National Food Tourism Leadership Board as well as the strategy sub-steering group charged with leading the development of Scotland’s future tourism strategy ‘Beyond TS2020’.

Prior to joining the STA, Marc spent many years working in the front line of the Hospitality, Event, Sport & Leisure industries across the globe for large high-profile multinational organisations as well as some leading medium and small rural hotel businesses. He believes wholeheartedly that “Tourism is Everyone’s Business” and that providing great experiences, investing in people, technology and service quality are the essential ingredients to making Scotland’s visitor economy thrive and prosper in the way it does.

Stephen Gow Image

Stephen Gow, chairman of Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, is a highly experienced hotel general manager responsible for The Chester Hotel in Aberdeen and The Chester Residence in Edinburgh.

Keen to support and nurture talent in the workplace and to encourage a new generation into a career in hospitality, Stephen was instrumental in the creation of Hospitality Apprenticeship North East and chairs this industry-led initiative. He was also a founding director of VisitAberdeen and remains a member of Aberdeen City and Shire Hotels’ Association.

Originally from Edinburgh, Stephen’s career has seen him manage hospitality businesses from Perth to Hawaii and Inverness to London.

Marina Huggett

Marina is Director of the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, Executive Board Director of the Scottish Tourism Alliance and a Trustee of HIT Scotland. She also sits on the Board of Visit Inverness Loch Ness. She is Chairperson of the Achnagairn Estate, an events venue near Inverness which has 60 bedrooms, a 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 has been involved in sport for over 30 years professionally and as a volunteer. As a Head of Sports Development at sportscotland, the national agency for sport, he has responsibility for the strategic relationships and investment with all Scottish governing bodies of sport and other key partners including the Commonwealth Games Council of Scotland.
As the rights holders for major sporting events in Scotland, governing bodies play a key role in delivering these national and internationally significant events, and the wider benefits they bring to the nation in terms of tourists, international profile and pride.

Image of Angela Mercer

Angela Mercer has an honours degree in biological sciences from the University of Edinburgh. After a spell at York University she worked for the Cranedale Centre in the Yorkshire Wolds running environmental courses for school and university groups. She moved permanently back to Scotland in 1995, and in 1998 with a friend set up and ran the acclaimed and successful Flat Cat Gallery in Lauder. Since moving further north in 2007 she has been running Glenloy Wildlife, a nature-based tourism business with husband Jon.

She has been involved with Wild Scotland since 2008 and is currently vice-chair.

Image of Gordon Morrison

Gordon is the CEO of The Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA), the membership organisation responsible for representing and supporting the Attractions sector in Scotland.

A well-known face in Scottish tourism, Gordon previously worked as Quality & Tourism Manager with VisitScotland where he was responsible for the delivery of the highly regarded Visitor Attraction Grading Scheme. He was also Commercial & Visitor Services Manager with Museums & Galleries Edinburgh where he led on shaping the visitor experience at iconic attractions such as the Scott Monument and Museum of Childhood. In over 13 years of working with the sector, Gordon has visited and offered advice to hundreds of different attractions across Scotland. He does have a favourite attraction of the hundreds he has visited, but he refuses to reveal which it is for fear of membership rebellion!

Image of Andrea Nicholas

Co-founder of the Green Tourism Certification Programme during the past 22 years Andrea has assisted in development of green networks and certification programmes throughout the UK and in Europe, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada and Africa.  The Green Tourism Programme started in 1997 and has expanded to cover all of the UK & Ireland with over 2500 members.  In the past 2 years Andrea has driven the development of a digital platform for Sustainable Management, GreenCheck, which is being used for Green Tourism and adapted for other industry sectors such as the NHS. Andrea is the chair of board of judges for CIS awards and is also a sustainability judge for the Cateys, VisitEngland and the Association of Serviced Apartments.

Calum Ross Image

Calum is proprietor of the award-winning Loch Melfort Hotel in Oban which he bought with his wife Rachel in 2008 and combines the challenges of small business ownership with a thriving business consultancy, mentoring and advising SMEs across the Highlands & Islands, in a variety of industry sectors.

He has recently been appointed to the board of Highlands & Islands Enterprise and was appointed non-executive Chairman of Midton Acrylics in Lochgilphead in March 2018.

Calum maintains several high-profile voluntary board positions, serving as Chair of UK Hospitality Scotland; a director of UK Hospitality UK; a director of the Scottish Tourism Alliance and a member of the national Tourism Leadership Group. Calum is also a director of Argyll & the Isles Tourism Co-operative Ltd, Vice-Chair of the Oban and Lorn Tourism Association and Chair of Arduaine Garden Friends.

Image of Stephen Whitelaw

In 1988 Stephen Whitelaw founded Buchanan International Inc in Silicon Valley and 10 years later spun out Actis Technology. He has a proven track record of managing and growing technology businesses through strong financial and personnel management skills and has often been described as a rebel without a pause!
His highly energetic nature and deep knowledge of the internet has enabled him to travel the world engaging with companies large and small offering consultancy and training on many of the web technologies affecting so many businesses today.