SCOTLAND’S TOURISM AGENCY leader was in Moray this week as part of a national tour of the visitor hot-spots around the country.
Malcolm Roughead was on a ‘Listening Tour’ which has proven highly successful in recent years, allowing him to meet tourism organisations and businesses and learn from them what is happening in each region.
This year’s meetings have focussed on the relationship between tourism and culture, reflecting the move of tourism into the new ministerial portfolio held by Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs.
In Moray the VisitScotland chief executive called in at the Macallan Distillery to learn about the development of the new visitor centre due to open next summer.
Scott McCroskie, Manager Director, The Macallan, said: “The Macallan distillery team were delighted to welcome Mr Roughead to the site and give him a tour. We are pleased with the progress of our new distillery and visitor centre which has been designed to complement the natural beauty of the area and the estate.
“This new facility reflects The Macallan’s uncompromising approach to quality. It will bring significant economic benefit to the local community and will give visitors an outstanding impression of both The Macallan and Scotland.”
Mr Roughead also met Guy Macpherson-Grant at Ballindalloch Castle and enjoyed a tour of the castle, grounds and new distillery, attended lunch with Barry and Ruth Scott at The Bothy Bistro in Burghead and had a meeting and tour with Mark Mair, Chairman at Morayvia in Kinloss.
He also enjoyed a tour of Johnstons of Elgin and meeting with Sales and Operations Manager, Gail Cleaver.
George McNeil, Managing Director Retail at Johnstons of Elgin, said: “We were delighted to be part of the Tea & Tourism event and to be hosting Mr Roughead during his visit.
“Johnstons of Elgin is one of the top visitor attractions in Scotland, ranking just outside the top 10 locations list with just over 200,000 visitors per year. Given that a large proportion of our guests are classed as tourism footfall then we continually take tourism very serious in our everyday behaviour.
“Mr Roughead’s visit gives us at Johnstons a voice for our business, as well as Moray Speyside as a whole, to grow people’s understanding of what we have to offer as well as the region as a whole.
“We thank him for taking the time to visit us and wish him every success in his endeavours.”
Following his business visits the chief executive held a round-table discussion focusing on current and emerging trends in tourism and the visitor economy. The meeting, hosted by Johnstons of Elgin, was attended by representatives from businesses across Moray Speyside, including Findhorn Bay Arts, Moray Council, Moray Speyside Tourism and Knockando Woolmill.
Malcolm Roughead said: “Tourism is at the very heart of economic success in Moray Speyside – it is integral to sustaining communities across Scotland by generating income, creating jobs and stimulating social change across the region.
“Moray Speyside’s reputation as a quality destination relies on continued investment and innovation to ensure that current provision meets future demand.
“The aim of this visit to was to meet industry and cultural leaders, and owners to discuss how we could continue to capitalise on the wealth of opportunities and maximise the impact on the visitor economy.
“The businesses I have visited in Moray Speyside have demonstrated that they are all showcasing the best of what the region has to offer – from its unique culture, heritage and history right through to its world-famous links to whisky and global brands, including Johnstons and Macallan.
“I have enjoyed meeting and speaking directly to with some of Moray Speyside’s most influential and innovative thinkers in the industry and visited some of the region’s key visitor attractions and seen how, with investment and the right approach, they can really put this area on the map as a quality visitor destination.”