Tourism and Hospitality Industry Leadership Group minutes: November 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 23 November 2022.

Attendees and apologies

ILG members attending

  • Aileen Crawford, Glasgow Life
  • Andrea Nicholas, Green Business UK Ltd
  • Anna Miller, Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Benjamin Carey, Carey Tourism
  • Bryan Simpson, Unite
  • Calum Ross, Loch Melfort hotel
  • Carron Tobin, RuralDimensions Ltd
  • Chris Greenwood, Moffatt Centre
  • Chris O’Brien, Nevis Range
  • Colin Cook, Scottish Government
  • Debbie Johnson, IHG Hotels and Resorts
  • Derek Shaw, Scottish Enterprise
  • Joshua Ryan-Saha, TravelTech for Scotland
  • Joss Croft, UKInbound
  • Judy Rae, OnFife Cultural Trust
  • Ivan McKee, Scottish Government
  • Karen Jackson, South of Scotland Enterprise
  • Kat Brogan, Mercat Tours
  • Kelly Johnstone, Springboard
  • Ken Massie, VisitScotland
  • Lawrence Durden, Skills Development Scotland
  • Leon Thompson, UKHospitality Scotland
  • Marc Crothall, Scottish Tourism Alliance
  • Melanie Allen, Nithbank Country Estate
  • Michael Golding, Visit Inverness Loch Ness
  • Rob Dickson (AM-online), VisitScotland
  • Russell Murray, Wilderness Group
  • Stephen Duncan, Historic Environment Scotland

ILG members apologies

  • Barbara Smith, Diageo
  • Chris Brodie, Skills Development Scotland
  • James Fowlie, COSLA
  • Rob Dickson (PM), VisitScotland


  • Paul McCafferty (online), Scottish Enterprise
  • Caroline Cantine, Scottish Government
  • Eleanor Styles, Scottish Government
  • Judith Young, Scottish Government
  • Andrew O’Neil (online), Scottish Government
  • Karen Christie, Scottish Tourism Alliance
  • Mark Rowley, South of Scotland Enterprise
  • Vicki Miller (online), VisitScotland

Items and actions

Welcome and introduction

MC welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Leadership Group.

ILG members briefly introduced themselves.

It was noted that the Tourism andHospitality ILG builds on the collaborative approach that tourism in Scotland has taken in recent years, highlighting that the ILG brings together industry, public sector agencies and Scottish Government to work together in partnership.

It was highlighted that ILG members (with the exception of the public agencies and the Union representative) are there in an individual capacity and not representing a business or organisation.

Setting the Sscene

Ivan McKee, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise

IM welcomed the group and thanked everyone for coming.

IM noted the importance of the ILG model and the importance of getting it right across all sectors. It was highlighted that the ILG is an effective way to bring the voices of a sector together at a strategic level.

IM reinforced the point that the ILG should be action focused and not just about discussion.

The ILG will be key to delivering Scotland Outlook 2030. IM noted that despite all the challenges being faced, SO2030 was still right noting that it provides a strong strategic direction. 

It was emphasised that work to flesh out the actions will be key. 

IM noted a good alignment between SO2030 and NSET.

It was highlighted that although the sector faces many challenges, there will also be some great opportunities which can be worked on collectively to find the right solutions.

IM stressed that support and funding for the sector is currently limited however IM noted that he would continue to press the importance of the sector to colleagues. In the meantime, the sector needs to work with what is currently available.

IM commented that he was looking forward to sharing the journey ahead with a very strong group of people from across the tourism and hospitality sector.

Marc Crothall, CEO, Scottish Tourism Alliance

Leadership and collaboration are the founding principles of the ILG, this successful approach is unique to Scotland and has been demonstrated throughout the life of the previous tourism strategy, Tourism Scotland 2020, the development of the current strategy Scotland Outlook 2030 and STERG.

Scotland Outlook 2030 remains highly relevant and over the last two and a half years we have seen SO2030 guide the decisions of STERG and the Tourism Recovery Task Force. SO2030 is also reflected in other areas such as the Thistle awards, Sector plans, VisitScotland plans.

MC emphasised that the group would focus on the medium to long term noting that there are other forums addressing the immediate challenges of the sector.

MC reiterated that the resource landscape across both the public and private sector remains severely constrained and highlighted that creativity will be key.

Q and A

Observations have been made that although the ILG is a great group of individuals, the diversity of the ILG does not reflect the diversity of our visitors.

It was noted that the diversity of the group reflects the applications which were received. It was highlighted that it is not the intention to exclude anyone and moving forward it will be important that everyone will have an opportunity to contribute. Engagement with stakeholders outside the ILG will be critical whether that be individuals or special interest groups to ensure that voices are heard from across the entire sector.

A world leader in 21st century tourism

ILG members shared their thoughts in a round table discussion on what it means to be world leading in Tourism. The following points were captured and subsequently grouped into themes.


  • to be a leader we need to go further than any other destination – what can we do to make Scotland stand out? 
  • tourism industry reflects the values of Scotland, fair work, community engagement, sense of pride and place
  • tourism must be seen as a force for good across society, from national government, local government, education system – all parts of life
  • ur values and behaviours are important. Our values must be demonstrated across all areas of society. Behaviours need to come from the bottom up. Inclusivity is an example of where our behaviours are not shining through. There are countries who do this, and we should look to learn from them
  • our businesses have been through a lot. We need to look after the businesses that we have and give them confidence in the future
  • collaboration is what Scotland does well

Sustainability/responsible tourism

  • to be world leading would be to have a genuine Net Zero industry. We must work with businesses to identify what they need to invest in to be a Net Zero destination
  • a Net Zero destination will attract visitors who are now travelling out of conscience
  • a Net Zero destination will attract people to come and work here
  • while it is acknowledged that Net Zero is incredibly important, it is critical that the other aspects of responsible tourism are also part of the conversation. It was noted that many aspects of responsible tourism are interrelated
  • need to educate visitors to be responsible consumers
  • tourism is not just protecting – it’s restoring and enhancing
  • net zero is critical but wider sustainability issues are equally important
  • we must address seasonality
  • regarding seasonality -a balanced approach to the year is needed
  • Scotland needs peaks to survive the winter, if the peaks flatten there will be consequences

People and place

  • people and place are the most important. People deliver the experience and place is the reason why people visit
  • fair work should be interwoven throughout our discussions on responsible tourism/sustainable tourism. Fair work is essential for our people
  • our people need to be proud of the industry that they work in. We need to create that sense of pride to lock in the talent. We need common values which can be passed on through the sector
  • tourism could learn a lot from communities. Communities are contributing to tourism without realising it

Measurement and data

  • data and measurement are important. We must understand where we are now and where we want to get to
  • it is important that we listen to our visitors – our visitors need to tell us that we are world leading


  • technology can deliver efficiencies
  • technology adoption can be difficult for businesses
  • need to look at how technology in other markets is used to benefit the tourism industry
  • as a sector we need to be more experimental with technology
  • most of the sector is made up of small businesses – we must ensure they have the right support and advice


  • tourism is not explicit in NSET. Do we need to add it in?
  • as we move forward, we must make sure that we always look through the lens of responsible tourism and NSET

ILG members reflected on the conditions needed for success and gave some initial thoughts on measuring success.

Conditions for success

  • the right policy – what are the Tourism policy areas that the ILG can influence?
  • expedited planning system
  • housing, childcare, social care, transport to get people home
  • respect for the sector across society. The value of tourism is recognised – education will be needed to realise this
  • the right support is provided for businesses. An integrated approach to support is required. Support must be right for the business base – small/medium/large businesses. Need to ensure the appropriate support is available at the different stages of a business’s journey
  • showcase good leadership in the sector - there are many examples of good business practices – and then help businesses to get there
  • access to funding would help to shift the dial – private/public partnerships

Measuring success

  • a wellbeing index
  • a suite of different measures will be required
  • economic contribution is best measured through GVA
  • changing the perception of the sector would help tackle recruitment challenges. By working together to create a fairer sector the image of the sector will improve, and we will attract visitors and individuals who want to work in the sector
  • when discussing the perception of the sector we need to be mindful that many parts of the tourism and hospitality sector are already doing great things, for example visitor attractions, HES properties, NTS, Diageo
  • there is a need for a deeper dive to understand why people don’t want to work in the sector
  • by 2030 people will aspire to have careers in the sector
  • values not value
  • business confidence
  • the number of green jobs
  • to be a world leader is a competition – clarity around who we are measuring ourselves against
  • external validation is required – we need to ask our customer how we are doing?
  • data in tourism is difficult – industry and public agencies need to work together on this
  • being a world leader in 21st century tourism needs to be defined specifically to help people believe in it. It cannot be generic
  • framework to measure Net Zero impact

Close of the morning session

Mr McKee thanked the group for the outstanding contributions made so far and noted the following points in summary before leaving the meeting:

  • sustainability was clearly highlighted as a core theme; however, it was stressed that sustainability is about more than just Net Zero
  • wellbeing is a strong narrative for Scotland
  • Scotland as a top sustainable destination is a fabulous aspiration. It was noted however that quantifying this would be critical. Who would Scotland be competing against? Who is already doing this well? What would good look like for Scotland?
  • it’s important that the value of the tourism sector is recognised. We need the population of Scotland to have pride in tourism. Achieving this could help to tackle the workforce challenges and attract people to the sector
  • it was noted that Scotland does not need to chase high volume – sustainability credentials should be a strong message to the right visitors
  • the strength of an ILG is not just the connections between members but also the opportunity to connect to other ILGs. It was suggested that there could be learnings from other ILGs for example, technology, what are other ILGs doing about technology? Peer to peer learning is important. It was also noted that the Tourism and Hospitality sector has the power to create its own narrative

Achieving the ambitions of SO2030 – workshop facilitated by VisitScotland

SO2030 outlines a number of Outcomes under four Strategic Priorities, Diverse Business, Passionate People, Thriving Places and Memorable Experiences. The aim of the workshop was to look forward to 2030 and identify the opportunities which would help us to achieve the Strategic Outcomes or the challenges which we may have to overcome. It was intended that the output from the workshop would provide food for thought and input for future meetings.

A separate report, summarising the output of the session will be issued to ILG members with the meeting notes.

Ways of working

ILG roadmap to 2030

  • a draft roadmap highlighting the key milestones over the coming years was shared with the group for information. It was noted that this is work in progress and will evolve moving forward

Delivering SO2030 – key milestones 2022-2030

  • T and H ILG created - November 2022
  • SO2030 delivery plan completed* - summer 2023
  • SO2030 measurement and evaluation framework in place** - autumn 2023
  • SO2030 annual review - autumn 2024
  • SO2030 mid term strategy review process - autumn 2025-2026
  • SO2030 annual review - autumn 2027
  • SO2030 strategy refresh process – beyond 2030 - autumn 2028-2030

* The SO2030 delivery plan will identify the strategic actions required in the S/M/L term. Actions will either build on existing actions and initiatives or will be over and above the actions currently being taken by partners to deliver the ambitions of SO2030. Delivery partners will develop detailed action plans.

** The measurement and evaluation framework will monitor progress towards our desired outcomes and measure the success of SO2030.

The year ahead – creating a delivery plan and a measurement and evaluation framework for SO2030.

  • a draft overview of the key milestones for the year ahead was shared. 

Terms of reference

  • one amend was highlighted – P3 section 4.1 – request to acknowledge that additional global expertise may be required to support the group

Action: Change to be made and draft to be converted to final. (Secretariat – Final document to be issued with meeting notes.)

ILG engagement

  • ongoing ILG engagement was noted as critically important. 
  • many groups and organisations were cited by ILG members as important examples to engage with: communities, transport, accessibility and inclusivity, Jambo Radio, migrant communities, Euan’s Guide, Further Education and Higher Education, Communities leading in tourism alumni, Highland Tourism, STA Sector Council, STA Destination Forum, Young Scot, DYW network, economically disadvantaged, regional and island engagement, etc.

It was agreed that a stakeholder engagement plan was needed including a list of all the obvious and the not so obvious stakeholders.

Action: All ILG members to create a list of key stakeholders, including details of a key contact and the best means to engage with them (a template will be provided). Templates should be returned to by Friday 6 January 2023.

  • it was noted that it would be helpful to understand how the ILG will engage with other bodies such as Scottish Government etc

Action: A stakeholder engagement map is to be created and shared to illustrate the ILG’s interactions across the tourism and hospitality landscape. (Secretariat by 19 January 2023)

Election of the ILG Vice Chair

  • ILG members who would like to put their name forward for the role of Vice-Chair should email An anonymous voting process will then take place. The intention is to select the Vice-Chair before the next meeting on 19 January.

Action: ILG members who would like to put their name forward for the role of Vice-Chair should email by Friday 2 December.

Working together

  • the group agreed that in-person meetings were the preferred option moving forward (with a hybrid option available as a backup)
  • the COSLA conference centre was noted as a good venue in terms of location and facilities

Action: Future meeting times and locations are to be re-confirmed on the basis that they will be in-person. Note: Realistic travel times for ILG members, particularly those traveling longer distances, should be considered when setting future meeting times. (Secretariat)

Closing summary and next steps 

ILG members were asked to reflect on the discussions which took place during the day and to feedback any thoughts on whether there were any gaps in the discussions or if there were any further thoughts which would help build on the points raised during the day.

ILG members were also asked to feedback:

  • general comments or feedback on the session - what worked well and what could have worked better? 
  • thoughts about future meetings

Action: All comments are to be sent to

The next meeting is Thursday 19th January 2023 – venue and time to be reconfirmed.

The next session aims to focus on our Diverse Businesses and our Passionate People.

Back to top