Tourism and Hospitality Industry Leadership Group: March 2024

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 27/03/2024


Marc Crothall (MC) welcomed everyone to the seventh meeting of the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Leadership Group. He thanked James Fowlie (JF) for hosting at COSLA.
Apologies were noted.
MC informed the group that Russell Murray (RM), Wilderness Scotland has stepped down from the group due to work commitments. He acknowledged the contribution of RM to the group particularly in relation to net zero.


Note of Previous Meeting

The note of the previous meeting (7 February 2024) was approved. Meeting notes will be published on Scottish Government website. 
Actions from previous meeting were summarised as follows:
Sustainable transport deep dive – taking place at this meeting.
Community Led Tourism deep dive – taking place at this meeting.
Visitor survey results come out later this year.


ILG symposium and other updates

MC informed that the date has been moved to 25 September to ensure stronger discussions and an agenda is close to being finalised. 
MC noted the VisitScotland Information strategy announcement which aligns well to SO2030 future ways of working and improving delivery of information to visitors.
MC updated the group the that new Chair of VisitScotland is Stephen Leckie, and Rebecca Brooks has been announced Chair of STA.


Skills Update

Chris Brodie (CB) provided the ILG group with background on the skills delivery landscape review by James Withers in September 2022. 
The Withers report delivered 7 June 2023 found that recommendations had implications for both Skills Development Scotland and delivery agencies. CB noted that within the Withers review: 

  • SG should take responsibility for national skills planning. 
  • Enhanced role for employers in shaping skills planning priorities, pathways and provision.
  • A strengthened regional approach that builds on regional economic partnerships and has employers and colleges, at the centre.
  • Establishing a new single funding and delivery body and development of new funding model for post-16 provision. 
  • Qualifications body to oversee development and accreditation of post-school qualifications and underpinning occupational standards.
  • Substantive reform of SDS to create a new body with a singular focus on careers advice.

CB updated on Mr Dey’s statement to Parliament 5th Dec 23 following engagement with stakeholders: 

  • ‘Accepted premise’ of the Withers recommendations and identified early priorities.
  • SG will take responsibility for national skills planning – and clearer on national strategic skills requirements.
  • Bring Learner support funding into ‘one place’ and funding for provision into ‘one place’.

Work underway within SG on implementation of recommendations.
Minister due to update Parliament in Spring 2024.
‘Business as Usual’ for SDS – commitment to Tourism sector via Apprenticeships, Business Support and LD supporting the ILG Missions and Skills Group.
A discussion on skills followed.
MC noted how helpful the update was and thanked CB.


Transport Scotland

Alison Irvine (AI) and Fiona Brown (FB) from Transport Scotland (TS) provided a presentation in relation to transport and the visitor economy.
Acknowledged the need for TS to be engaged with the Sustainable Transport mission and that this is a start of an ongoing dialogue.
Transport and tourism statistics showed 396m trips per annum on public transport in 2022 - bus down from pre-covid (17%); train also down from pre-covid (34%).
It was noted there has been a change in demand post covid as less people commute.  

Key challenges and opportunities were outlined:
Data Gathering 
Climate change and sustainability
Multi modal connectivity:

  • In relation to smart ticketing / technology.
  • In relation to physical and timetabling connectivity. 
  • Smart delivery strategy to be published in Spring.

Availability and accessibility: fair fares review – work is ongoing however noted challenges of different operators and systems.
Partnership working: this is important to maximise existing networks and work with partners, businesses, to support attractions/destinations. 

They covered how TS is supporting the tourism sector:
Smart ticketing – various examples of travel passes. Traveline designed to be one-stop shop.
Island connectivity

  • Challenges in west coast.
  • RET an opportunity for visitor economy – review of the tariff taking place.
  • 2026 will see improvements with new vessels.


  • Tourism strategy obligation for ScotRail.
  • New developments – Levenmouth and East Linton.
  • Ensure long term viability for the rail services.

Fair fares review – recommendations and actions to deliver on public transport. Trial on removal of peak-time fares.
Active travel

  • Looking to influence everyday journeys and modal shift.
  • Increased investment in active travel infrastructure.


  • £60 million EV Infrastructure Fund has supported LA’s to develop charge point strategies and expansion plans.
  • TS noted a shift over to private sector onus for installing new chargers.

Role of Government: National Transport strategy 

Published pre-covid, it’s a collaboration and provides one overarching strategy, as opposed to sub strategies for different modes.
It was noted TS is working with SG in different policy areas due to the cross-cutting nature of transport.
Regional alignment - all 7 regions in Scotland are required to do regional strategies that reflects the national strategy.
20% Car KM reduction

  • Route map with COSLA to deliver on this commitment.
  • Reducing car dependency will improve outcomes across all areas.


  • Visitor economy role.
  • TS working with VS and SDI – single door for routes 

Example of National Visitor management sustainable transport group

  • National Parks play a role in driving sustainable transport.
  • Looking at data - challenging but very useful in separating out visitors and residents.

A discussion amongst the ILG members followed with the following points made:
There is a shared interest in level of change needed and ILG members were pleased to see TS commitment to Net Zero.
Rob Dickson (RD) raised the likely common ground between SO2030 and the National Transport Strategy, which could be interrogated more in the mission.
Query from CR in relation to EVs and if this had an impact on goals of reducing car usage. FB/AI indicated that EVs still take up road space and given the drive for active travel, there is an ambition to reduce car usage.
On EVs, TS used the example that SG don’t supply petrol/diesel. TS did make an investment toward EVs and it’s now time to put the ownership on private sector.
The importance of rural connectivity for hospitality, tourism and the community was highlighted by several members. TS colleagues keen to hear more from the ILG members on this. RD raised there may be a role for the ILG to better understand the transport position in relation to the Rural Delivery Plan. 
Aileen Crawford (AC) raised the issue of mobility and access. FB/AI highlighted that work was ongoing to make stations and journeys more accessible, however pre-travel information was very important for customers with access requirements too. TS work with a mobility & access committee
Leon Thompson (LT) asked about smart ticketing and whether this was still viewed as the way forward. TS highlighted there are challenges with smart ticketing due to complexities of ticketing, fare structure and governance. It was noted that on 98 precent of buses, contactless is available. Smart ticketing can mean contactless tickets, rather than a single ticket for all providers.
Chris Greenwood (CG) highlighted the complexity of the situation in relation to transport. There is a need to understand both visitors and visitor journey; nighttime economy important to consider. CG can share the data that does exist with TS. 
RD summed up by saying that on the Transport Mission, the group would review the game changing actions to be clearer about what these are:

  • Strategy linkages between o2030 and transport strategy – review these to finalise game changing actions.
  • Rural delivery plan – a joint review of this in relation to visitor economy; employment piece, understanding connections
  • Regional focus – unlock opportunities for the whole of Scotland for fairness and equality; this should be reflected in mission 


Transport mission group to review paper in respect of presentation and discussion
ILG to feed into FB/AI on the rural and urban challenges
CG to share existing data on visitors/visitor journey
Sarah Iverson (SI) to circulate transport Scotland slides to ILG members
FB to link Joshua Ryan-Saha (JRS) with key contacts at TS regarding data. This may be useful for JRS/tech mission


Net Zero Acceleration 

Andrea Nicholas (AN) updated the group on the work of the Net Zero mission and noted they want to go beyond 2030 and provide a) a roadmap towards net zero that businesses can use and b) identify carbon footprint of Scottish Tourism.

  • AN proposed that the mission could be a critical friend to the other missions providing support and advice on how to incorporate net zero.
  • It was noted that businesses don’t always understand scope 3 – this can make journey to net zero difficult and can stall businesses, so they don’t move forward with their net zero ambitions.
  • AN noted that experts need to come on-board.

A discussion about the mission followed with the following points made:

  • CB - recognises the complexity of measuring the carbon footprint of the sector. Propose to work with different part of the sector and what they can do to reduce the footprint instead of spending money on gathering data for full sector. 
  • Stephen Duncan (SD) highlighted the need for adapting and re-using existing buildings is critical to reaching net zero. However, this is a challenge in the context of traditional skills.
  • RD noted the complexity, and the scale of the challenge is making this topic difficult. The paper is now connected to the farsighted approach, and we are on the right path. The benefits and impacts in the paper are the space we need to be in. 
  • Melanie Allen (MA) highlighted the trademarked scheme in the biosphere which encourages businesses to become certified low carbon.
  • MC concurred that the ambition is in the right space, aligned to Scotland 2030, however we need to consider who the supporting partners are e.g. academia, other ILGs (symposium a potential route to explore). Also showcasing of bests practice e.g. Lumo train might help share and encourage businesses.
  • CM suggested the climate exchange network research funded by SG – could this be useful in the measurement of the businesses carbon footprint.
  • Points raised around mapping and understanding what is happening in Scotland and Internationally to help inform the mission. 
  • Fran Pacitti (FP) suggested involving climate change colleagues in SG who may be able to help with forward planning. This may help shape and define regulatory interventions, to avoid duplication and look at where we can add value. 
  • KJ offered support of SOSE colleagues in relation to this mission.



CB and KJ to connect AN with carbon footprint focused colleague in SDS and SOSE respectively. 
VS/SG to ensure SG Climate Change is engaged on the mission; opportunities to be identified.
Mission group to consider the discussion points set out above.

The group approved the net zero mission.

Community Led Tourism 

Carron Tobin (CT) provided a deep dive on Community Led Tourism (CLT) and provided an overview of its definition, the strategic context, SCOTO and their work:
Definition of CLT – this could mean delivering a visitor facing service enhancing visitor experience.
Strategic context of NSET / O2030 both very relevant to CLT – also others like HES which recognises community. 
CLT is an existing concept – e.g. Stromness museum – it’s nothing new, it’s just growing in pace.  CT set out various examples of current community enterprises such as:

  • Community benefit company – Loch Ness hub
  • Training for young people / youth development – Callander Hostel 
  • CLT exists in places where communities are stepping in where facilities and services are no longer viable

CT explained the SCOTO vision / mission / ambition 

  • SCOTO roadshow travelled around the country – main message was tourism ‘happening to’ communities.
  • 800 churches in Scotland coming to market – examples of how we repurpose these building e.g. “champing”. CLT can help keep these historic properties in active use.
  • Be local is SCOTO’s visitor facing proposition.

CT highlighted the Press Pause initiative- bringing together community and business interests to undertake a destination competence appraisal against 16 factors. CT noted the work with destinations to develop visitor propositions. Some examples of the destination scoring were shared.
CLT advocates for changes in measurement – beyond metrics like footfall and spend to other metrics eg. Retaining jobs, cultural assets protected.
KB asked who usually makes contact with SCOTO/press pause and CT responded this was usually the community trust.
CT spoke about what it can mean to identify as community led tourism and the differences for this sector - e.g. some museums may identify themselves as in the heritage sector, rather than tourism.
CT emphasised importance of third sector, alongside public and private sector. RSE research underlines this. There is also a challenge with counting, charities don’t report to companies house and some CLT groups are informal and not registered formally.
A discussion followed with the following points made:

  • One in five people in Scotland volunteer – motivation is key in the third sector.
  • MA highlighted that community led tourism is more within our gift than other missions and we can bring awareness to wider sector.
  • SD highlighted that CLT also need to apply to urban areas – useful to include that in the narrative. Place and people are key. Maybe we must adapt our language to our audience.
  • KB referenced there’s a difference between community focused tourism and community led tourism. Both need to be recognised and it’s about bridging these. She also highlighted the importance of learning from each other and not seeing businesses in conflict with communities.  
  • CR referenced that for too long have we ignored the community element of tourism and noted his support for the mission in principle. However, he highlighted he would like to see a change to some of the language in the mission. He feels community and businesses are spoken as if they are two separate entities. 
  • Discussion around whether it mattered that some did not view themselves as ‘tourism’ entities; e.g. a heritage museum. CT reflected that it is important that we (tourism industry) recognise these businesses as part of tourism, rather than the other way round.
  • MR highlighted it is important that we recognise these businesses/organisations as part of the industry rather than the other way round – endorsement for this approach. 
  • JRS highlighted that there are a few strands to the broad ‘community’ agenda. These are: community empowerment to deliver a service and community benefits from tourism – these are both easy to agree on. But the bit that’s trickier is balancing visitor management – trade off and discussion challenges of capacity which is more about decision making for communities. Perhaps the paper could be structured to reflect this.
  • RD referenced the balance to be addressed. Updated that ID&D at VS is focused on REPs and regional partnerships.  VS have to maintain the national overview and link with regional levels. Regional distinctions should be captured in the work of this mission. It requires Leadership and ILG is very well placed to execute that. 
  • MC summed up to say that more refinement was required on the paper itself, but agreement this is a mission to take forward. 
  • KJ highlighted there’s work to do on identifying and drawing out the crossover between Skills & People and CLT mission. 



KJ/CT to discuss links between missions.
VS and mission group to work with CT to finalise mission.

Short Term Indicator Set

Caroline MacFarlane (CM) and Raymond MacIntyre (RM) presented on the background of short-term indicator set including the rational for change and its purpose. 
RM noted the proposal to create three outputs which will be produced to serve three distinct purposes: 

  • Latest Tourism Intel: To provide THILG with the latest data and intelligence on the performance of the sector.
  • SO2030 Tracker: To provide THILG with a tool to understand the baseline position and track progress made against the SO2030 strategic priorities and outcomes. ​
  • THILG Missions KPIs: To provide THILG with a tool to track the outputs of the game changing actions set out in the Mission Documents and demonstrate how those actions assist in delivering the SO2030 Strategy​ – using logic modelling approach.

CM spoke on the timeline which included a programme of activity over six months to deliver the three outputs and went into more details on the different examples.
CM informed the ILG that they would like to work with all mission groups. 
CM and RM sought endorsement for the proposals.

  • MC supportive of the visual infographic and raised that within the New Deal for Business, sharing of data is a workstream and we might be able to use some of that in this context.
  • AC suggested including in the indicator set who is responsible for what. And asked this could be published in a public forum.
  • SD offered HES research data and CB offered skills/labour market data. CB noted the tourism labour market is a sub part of the labour market – look at longer term trends.

Action: RM/CM to progress the new indicator sets, working with VS/SG and the mission groups.


Mission progress reporting process

beth Thoms (BT) updated on the paper supplied; useful to have a think about the process of how we get an update from how the mission groups are progressing. A way to capture what is happening between the meetings in a non-onerous way.
RD reiterated the importance of quarterly reporting and the valuable deep dives. 
BT highlighted missions should feel free to raise questions or topics they may have too. Important to keep the momentum going.
There was a short discussion on communications. Comms narrative to be updated for ILG members quarterly. VS to share these with group along with any further assets for comms purposes.
Members agreed on above approach.

Action: BT to create proforma based on above which will be shared with mission leads.


Technology is next deep dive topic. 
Discussion on need to have more businesses representation in light of membership changes within the ILG. VS bringing membership paper to June meeting. MC asked for any suggestions of who would be good to have at the table.


Future Agenda

VS to share venue for next meeting – possibly Stirling.
CR suggested external speakers may be useful:
HITA – Leadership Academy. External speaker. 
International guest speaker for international scan, e.g. Faroe Islands. 

Attendees and apologies


Marc Crothall, Scottish Tourism Alliance



Aileen Crawford*, Glasgow Life

Andrea Nicholas (virtual)*, Green Tourism

Barbara Smith*, Industry Expert

Callum Ross*, Loch Melfort Hotel

Carron Tobin*, Rural Dimentions

Chris Brodie, Skills Development Scotland

Chris Greenwood*, Moffat Centre

Fran Pacitti, Scottish Government

James Fowlie, COSLA

Joshua Ryan-Saha*, Travel Tech Scotland

Judy Rae (virtual)*, OnFife Cultural Trust

Karen Jackson, South of Scotland Enterprise

Kat Brogan*, Mercat Tours

Kelly Johnstone*, The Springboard Charity

Lawrence Durden. Skills Development Scotland

Leon Thompson*, UK Hospitality Scotland

Mark Rowley, South of Scotland Enterprise

Melanie Allen*, Nithbank Country Estate

Rob Dickson, VisitScotland

Stephen Duncan*, Historic Environment Scotland



Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Small Business, innovation, Tourism and Trade

Anna Miller, Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Benjamin Carey*, Carey Tourism

Carolyn Churchill, VisitScotland

Derek Shaw, Scottish Enterprise

Ethan Hood, Scottish Government

Joss Croft*, UKInbound

Debbie Johnson*, IHG Hotels and Resorts

Kevin Fallon, VisitScotland

Michael Golding*, ASVA

Paul McCafferty, Scottish Enterprise

* ILG Industry members attend in an individual capacity and do not represent a business or organisation



Alisone Irvine, Transport Scotland

Beth Thoms, VisitScotland

Caroline Cantin, Scottish Government

Caroline MacFarlane, Scottish Government

Ethan Hood (virtual), scottish Government

Fiona Brown, Transport Scotland

John Coghill, Scottish Government

Raymond McIntyre, VisitSctoland

Sarah Iversen, VisitScotland

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