Public appointment: Members appointed to the Board of VisitScotland

Public appointments news release.

The Minister for Small Business, Innovation, Tourism and Trade, Richard Lochhead MSP, today announced the appointment of Professor Cara Aitchison, Lindsey Paterson and Barbara Smith as Members of the Board of VisitScotland.


Professor Cara Aitchison has 35 years’ experience in higher education, including senior leadership roles in England, Scotland and Wales. She has been President and Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff Metropolitan University since October 2016 and will retire in January 2024. She was previously Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Plymouth Marjon University, Head of Moray House School of Education and Chair in Social and Environmental Justice at Edinburgh University, Dean of the Faculty of Education, Sport and Tourism at the University of Bedfordshire, and Professor in Human Geography and Director of the Centre for Leisure, Tourism and Society at UWE Bristol.

Lindsey Paterson is a qualified Chartered Accountant and was a Partner at PWC until June 2022.  Most of her career has been spent providing risk and assurance services to public sector bodies across Scotland and the UK. She is a Member of the Board of Glasgow Clyde College.

Barabara Smith is an experienced leader in the tourism and hospitality business sectors with over 35 years working in areas of sport, leisure, tourism, culture and heritage.  She has held senior leadership and board positions in the private, public and not for profit sectors including at Meadowbank Stadium, Edinburgh Castle, Chester Zoo, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and most recently, Johnnie Walker Princes Street.  She is a Member of the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Leadership Group.


The appointments are for three years.  Professor Cara Aitchison and Barbara Smith were appointed from 1 December 2023 until 30 November 2026.  Lindsey Paterson will be appointed from 1 January 2024 until 31 December 2026.

The appointments are regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.

Remuneration and time commitment

The appointments attract remuneration of £356.00 per day for a time commitment of two days per month.

Other Ministerial appointments

Professor Cara Aitchison is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.  The time commitment is two days per month.  The role is unremunerated.

Lindsey Paterson and Barbara Smith do not hold any other public appointments.

Political activity

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process.  However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public.

Professor Cara Aitchison, Lindsey Paterson and Barbara Smith have had no political activity within the last five years.


VisitScotland is the Scottish Government Non-Departmental Public Body responsible for growing the visitor economy and events industry across Scotland. It has wide statutory powers to promote Scotland as a destination and has a core budget of around £45 million per annum. It is funded in part by the Scottish Government.

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