Public appointment: reappointment of Chair of the Board of VisitScotland

Public appointment news release.

The Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, Ivan McKee MSP, today announced the reappointment of Lord John Thurso as Chair of the Board of VisitScotland.


Lord John Thurso was appointed as Chairman of VisitScotland in 2016, and as such also serves as an Ex-Officio Board Member of VisitBritain.  His industry experience is considerable and was Europe’s youngest 5 star hotel manager as Managing Director of the Savoy Group’s Lancaster Hotel in Paris.  He then went on to lead a number of hospitality businesses to success including Blakeney Hotels of Cliveden, East Sussex National Golf Course and Fitness & Leisure Holdings.  Having served as a non-executive on a number of public company boards including The Savoy PLC, Millennium and Copthorne PLC, Lord Thurso is also Chairman of his family company in Caithness.  Lord Thurso sat in the House of Lords between 1995 and 1999 and from 2001 to 2015 was MP for Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross.  In 2003 he was awarded a ‘Catey’ for services to tourism, was made an honorary DBA by Oxford Brookes in 2004, is a Master Innholder, a Fellow of The Institute of Hospitality and is President of the Tourism Society.  In 2014 he was made a Privy Councillor by The Queen.

This reappointment is regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.

Length of term, remuneration and time commitment

Lord Thurso has been reappointed for two years from 1 April 2022 until 31 March 2024.  He receives £35,616 per annum for a time commitment of seven days per month.

Other ministerial appointments

Lord Thurso does not hold any other Ministerial 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.

Lord Thurso is a member of the House of Lords.


VisitScotland is the national tourism organisation for Scotland. Their main aim is to promote and grow Scotland’s tourism industry, giving it a real presence in the global marketplace and benefiting the whole of Scotland.

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