Tourism and Hospitality Leadership Group: terms of reference

Terms of reference for the Tourism and Hospitality Leadership Group.


The Tourism and Hospitality Industry Leadership Group (ILG) will be an exemplar of leadership, collaboration and partnership working, and will drive Scotland’s ambition to be a world leader in 21st century tourism. 

As ‘champion’ of the national tourism strategy, ‘Scotland Outlook 2030: Responsible Tourism For A Sustainable Future’ (SO2030) and its direct contribution to the Scottish Government’s 10 year National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET - launched March 2022), the work of the ILG will aim to secure a sustainable and resilient recovery for Scottish tourism and hospitality businesses, allowing them to flourish in the future while leading industry and advising Scottish Government and its agencies on how to achieve the long term vision and outcomes outlined in SO2030, within the wider context of NSET. 


Scotland Outlook 2030: Responsible Tourism For A Sustainable Future

The national tourism strategy, ‘Scotland Outlook 2030: Responsible Tourism For A Sustainable Future’ (SO2030), was launched in March 2020 with a bold new vision to be ‘the world leader in 21st century tourism’. This strategy goes beyond the economic contribution of tourism to Scotland – it looks to enrich the lives of those who live here and visit, to protect and preserve our places and for industry to be pioneers in delivering responsible tourism. 

SO2030 is a collaborative strategy which was developed in partnership by industry, Scottish Government and its public agencies: VisitScotland; Skills Development Scotland and the Enterprise agencies. 

The vision, mission and commitments outlined in SO2030 will guide and influence the future direction of the sector and will ensure that the right conditions are created, to enable Scottish tourism businesses to recover, grow and thrive sustainably. 

The collective ambition and principles of SO2030 are aligned to those of NSET, with SO2030 identified as a key component which will contribute to the delivery of the NSET priorities. 

SO2030 will also connect with Regional Economic Strategies and other sector strategies. 

Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group

Plans to implement SO2030 were halted immediately after its launch, when COVID-19 hit the UK hard, and a national lockdown was imposed on 24th March 2020. The Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) (STERG consists of COSLA, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise, the Scottish Tourism Alliance, and VisitScotland), used in previous crises such as the Foot and Mouth outbreak, was swiftly re-formed to provide an immediate, coordinated, national response to the pandemic and then to support tourism businesses to recover.

The COVID-19 crisis set the sector back significantly. A £25m Tourism Recovery Programme for 2021/22, based on the recommendations of the Tourism Recovery Task Force and developed by STERG, was aimed at accelerating recovery in the short term and providing a foundation for a sustainable recovery of the industry in the medium to long term. The aim of the Recovery Programme, and any continuation to this programme, (note no additional funding has been identified in 2022/23), was to set the industry back on track towards achieving the ambitions of the national tourism strategy, Scotland Outlook 2030, for Scotland to be a world leader in 21st century tourism.

STERG proved to be a highly effective model of leadership and collaboration for the tourism sector throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, coordinating and delivering critical funding and business support to industry.

The experience of the STERG partnership model now forms the founding principles of the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Leadership Group, (ILG), which aims to have a broad industry and community representation from across the tourism and hospitality sector. The ILG will provide ongoing leadership of the sector’s recovery and the necessary strategic leadership for the delivery of Scotland Outlook 2030, while ensuring a direct contribution to the ambitions of NSET.

Note: Although STERG was stood down at the end of 2022, the severity of the ongoing challenges facing the sector are recognised and former STERG organisations continue to work together to respond to these challenges and to support the sector notably through the national Business Support Partnership and through delivery of Destination Net Zero. 


The ILG will provide a collaborative strategic forum which: 

  • enables leaders from across the tourism and hospitality community to engage with each other and with the Scottish Government and its agencies in an effective and joined up way, on the strategic opportunities and issues of relevance to the achievement of the vision and outcomes of the national tourism strategy, Scotland Outlook 2030 and the NSET priorities
  • provides key stakeholders, relevant to the delivery of the tourism strategy, with the opportunity to define and develop the strategic actions and support required to ensure the economic, social and cultural contribution of tourism and hospitality in Scotland is maximised
  • allows the tourism and hospitality community, Scottish Government and its agencies to assess high level progress in the achievement of the vision and key outcomes of the national strategy and contribution to NSET and to gain insight to those global and regional mega trends which will drive our future direction and response
  • ensures a mechanism for genuine partnership working between the tourism and hospitality community, Scottish Government and its agencies to generate and share creative ideas and solutions which will allow Scottish tourism and hospitality to flourish, to create jobs across all parts of the country and to contribute to the ambitions and delivery programmes of NSET


Collaboration and partnership working is the foundation of the ILG. The ILG will be formed of leaders from across the spectrum of the tourism and hospitality community, including the private sector, public sector and third sector.

All ILG members will demonstrate a high level of leadership and influence and will be committed and passionate about the future of tourism and hospitality in Scotland and its global reputation. The ILG will: 

  • act as ambassadors for Scotland Outlook 2030 and its contribution to the National Strategy for Economic Transformation
  • maintain active engagement with the tourism and hospitality community and other identified key stakeholders and to share resources, information and contacts
  • actively contribute key insights and knowledge and constructively challenge where required, in a collaborative style of working
  • engage collaboratively with existing, nationally recognised tourism and hospitality working groups
  • promote responsible tourism
  • actively encourage fair work practices
  • commit to attending ILG meetings on a quarterly basis. Members are expected to attend at least 75% of ILG meetings each year. ILG meetings may be held in person or online. Note: At the inaugural meeting of the ILG on 23rd November 2022, members stated a preference for in person meetings with a hybrid option to be made available whenever possible
  • commit to take part in offline discussions between the ILG meetings as appropriate

Tourism and hospitality working groups

To successfully fulfil the purpose and remit of the ILG, it is expected that additional expertise and knowledge may be required. This support may be sought from several different sources, for example, global experts from international markets, existing working groups within the Tourism and Hospitality sector or working groups outwith the sector. In some cases, there may be a need for new, fixed term working groups to be created. 

New working groups will be created as required, and subject to available resource, to lead and deliver on specific aspects of Scotland Outlook 2030, or to tackle key issues or challenges which are important to the sector and to the delivery of NSET. The composition, appointments and remit of the working groups will be determined and documented by the ILG co-chairs in consultation with the ILG. 


The ILG will comprise up to a maximum of thirty members, including the co-chairs, vice chair and representatives from appropriate public sector agencies and the trade unions. 
COSLA, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise, Scottish Government, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Skills Development Scotland, VisitScotland and the Trade Unions will nominate a representative to serve on the ILG. 

It is the responsibility of each organisation to ensure that representatives have the right skills and experience to meet the defined purpose and the remit of the ILG. Where the nominated representative cannot attend an alternative representative from the public sector agency should attend. 

ILG members, (excluding the public sector agencies, Scottish Government and the trade unions), are appointed as individuals and NOT as representatives of companies or organisations. However, members should hold, (or have held), a leadership position within a Scottish based organisation involved in, (or connected to), the tourism and hospitality industry. There will be no provision for alternate members or for deputies to attend meetings when individual members are unable to attend. 

Membership of the ILG will be on a voluntary, non-remunerated basis.

Member composition

The ILG aims to achieve the right blend of skills, knowledge and experience to ensure that it is representative of the complex tourism and hospitality landscape. In addition, specialisms linked to both Scotland Outlook 2030 and NSET are highly valued and will also be reflected in the make-up of the ILG. 

Appendix A, ILG Matrix of Requirements, provides a full list of the essential and desirable eligibility criteria. 

The ILG aims to place diversity and inclusion at the core of its structure. The composition of the ILG will aim to include 50% women members based on the gender proportionality principle and welcomes expressions of interest from other under-represented groups including disabled people, those from Black and ethnic minority communities, LGBTI+ people, and people aged under 50. 


The Minister with responsibility for Tourism will co-chair the ILG alongside an industry representative. 

In consideration of the work done by the Scottish Tourism Alliance during the pandemic and the importance of retaining institutional knowledge and ensuring a smooth transition to the new ILG, the Scottish Government will invite the Scottish Tourism Alliance’s CEO to co-chair the ILG along with the Minister for an interim period of two years. Following this interim period, ILG members will appoint their own industry co-chair for up to three years. The total period as industry co-chair and vice chair cannot exceed six years. 

The industry co-chair will act as the principal spokesperson for the ILG. The co-chairs will be supported by the secretariat, see below. 

For information, appendix B outlines the key roles and responsibilities of the industry co-chair. 

Vice Chair 

A vice chair will be appointed by ILG members. The vice chair will operate on a fixed term of three years. An option to extend for a further three years will be available. The total period as Vice Chair and or Chair cannot exceed six years.

The vice chair will support the industry co-chair in their role and in the absence of the industry cochair, the vice chair will act as the principal spokesperson for the ILG and will undertake the roles and responsibilities of the industry co-chair. 

A practical and fair mechanism for selecting a future co-chair or vice chair will be determined by ILG members. When selecting the co-chair and vice chair ILG members will always consider a balanced gender split. In addition, ILG members will also aim to achieve a balance of both tourism and hospitality knowledge and experience. 

Tenure of members

Membership of the group will be timebound to three years for each individual, but membership of the group will be reviewed annually, to ensure it is representative of the skillset and knowledge requirements at that point in the lifespan of the strategy. An option to extend for up to a maximum of three years on the invitation of the Minister, will be available. It will be necessary to establish rotation of group membership over time; to achieve this some members in the future may only serve for a one-year or two-year tenure in order to bring in new members on a rotational basis. This process will be defined and agreed by the ILG. 


A transparent process will be adopted for the appointment of all ILG members. The opportunity to be considered for the group will be widely promoted across tourism and hospitality networks and interested parties will be able to submit an Expression of Interest. A review process will be followed to ensure the right balance of gender, skills, knowledge and experience is achieved. (See appendix A where the criteria are outlined in detail).

A panel will shortlist all suitable applications for approval by the Minister. During the interim two year period the panel will consist of, VisitScotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance and the Scottish Government. 

All appointed members will be issued with a letter outlining their expected contribution and tenure. 

Confidentiality and conflicts of interest 

It is recognised that members of the ILG and working groups may be given confidential information and/or be exposed to potential conflicts of interests with their roles outside the ILG. 

Members have a duty to maintain the confidentiality of information provided to them in confidence in their capacity as members of the ILG.

Whilst the ILG has no decision-making powers and, as such, its members would not be expected to incur any actual conflict of interest, it is each member's personal responsibility to raise any potential conflict with the Chair (or in the absence of the Chair the Vice Chair). 

Normal practice would be to review any conflict of interest declared, in the context of the limited powers of the ILG, and should it be determined by the individual member or by the Chair that there was a reasonable risk of a potential conflict arising, the member will not take part in any consideration or discussion on the relevant subject matter. In making this decision the perception of the conflict by the wider industry and or public, as well as the actual nature of the conflict will be considered by the Chair. 

If you sit on any public body Board or group, you should refer to The Ethical Standards in Public Life etc. (Scotland) Act 2000 in order to meet all requirements and report any conflicts of interests. If you have further queries, please refer to the Standards Commission Guidance.

Guiding principles for ILG members

All members of the ILG are expected to act with:

  • integrity - members have a responsibility to be open and honest about their views, decisions and actions
  • respect - members must respect fellow members of the ILG and the role they play, always treating them with courtesy
  • objectivity - members will make decisions and take actions solely based on merit
  • leadership - members are expected to lead by example

Performance and measurement 

The impact and effectiveness of the ILG and ILG members will be reviewed annually. Success criteria will be determined by the ILG and will be driven by the Purpose and Remit of the group. Success criteria may also be influenced by the Key Performance Indicators identified for SO2030 and the priorities of NSET. The first set of success criteria should be set within the first year of the ILG. 

Support structure 

Secretariat support will be provided to cover the following areas:

  • administration of the ILG
  • Scotland Outlook 2030 and NSET delivery
  • communication and engagement with the tourism and hospitality community and key stakeholders in respect of the work of the ILG

During the interim two year period this will be provided by the Scottish Tourism Alliance. 


Administrative support will be provided to ensure the smooth running of the ILG, including all aspects of efficient meeting management and member communication.

Scotland Outlook 2030 and NSET delivery 

Project management support will be provided to coordinate the work of the ILG in relation to the implementation, delivery, monitoring and reporting of SO2030 and it’s contribution to the NSET priorities. 

A Delivery Plan and Monitoring and Evaluation framework will be put in place to track progress towards delivery of the vision and outcomes of SO2030 and to measure the contribution of SO2030 towards key NSET deliverables. 

While it is incumbent upon everyone operating in the tourism and hospitality sector to take ownership and responsibility for achieving the vision and outcomes of SO2030, management and coordination is required to maximise efficiencies and minimise duplication. 

Commmunication and engagement 

The credibility of the ILG will be influenced by its capability and capacity to communicate across the tourism and hospitality community, to provide the necessary leadership in delivering Scotland Outlook 2030 and NSTET, to provide visibility of its activity and to actively engage the right stakeholders. A communication and stakeholder engagement plan will be agreed by the ILG. The plan will ensure visibility and support for all ILG activity and will be kept under regular review. 

Appendix A: Matrix of skills, knowledge and experience requirements 

The matrix below identifies the blend of skills, knowledge and experience which the make-up of the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Leadership Group aims to reflect. 

Candidates will be scored on the evidence provided for the ten essential (E) criteria outlined below. 

Skills, knowledge and experience linked to Scotland Outlook 2030 and the National Strategy for Economic Transformation 


Applicants should provide evidence of these skills in the application form:

  • ability to provide effective leadership and advocacy within the tourism and hospitality sector (E)
  • ability to take a strategic view of tourism and hospitality and the wider visitor economy at Scottish, UK, and international level (E)
  • ability to work effectively as part of a team (E)
  • ability to challenge constructively within a Board environment (E)
  • ability to develop and build relationships with stakeholders to deliver effective partnership working (E)
  • ability to communicate effectively with a range of audiences (E)

Knowledge and experience 

Applicants should provide evidence of their knowledge and experience in the application form:

  • general
    • knowledge and understanding of Scotland’s economy and competitive position nationally and internationally (E)
    • a strong tourism and hospitality background and international experience (E)
    • current working knowledge of the sector and understanding of business supply and demand (E)
    • an understanding of the key drivers for growth within the sector and how to accelerate these (E)
  • business 
    • entrepreneurship
    • productivity
    • supply chain
    • business support
  • people 
    • education, training, skills development
    • talent attraction
    • fair work
    • leadership 
  • place 
    • destination/visitor management
    • community led tourism
    • natural asset management
    • built assets management 
  • experience 
    • innovation
    • inclusivity/accessibility
    • technology adoption
    • customer service 
  • sustainability (environmental, social and economic) 
    • climate change – net zero practices
    • wellbeing
    • community wealth building
    • green economy 
  • conditions for success 
    • data, digital, technology
    • finance and investment
    • UK and Scottish government policy landscape 
    • UK and international marketing
    • connectivity (digital and transport infrastructure) 
  • business type 
    • small business
    • medium business
    • large business/corporate 
    • not for profit 
  • geographic split 
    • regional/national
    • rural 
    • city 
    • central belt 
    • morth 
    • south
    • east 
    • west 
    • islands 
  • sector split 
    • hospitality hotels 
    • hospitality pubs, café, restaurants 
    • other type accommodation 
    • visitor attractions 
    • festivals and events 
    • business events 
    • tour operator (inbound/day tour/tour guide) 
    • outdoor tourism 
    • food tourism 
    • agritourism 
    • retailer 
    • food and drink supply chain 

Appendix B: ILG industry Co-Chair - roles and responsibilities 

As the face of the ILG, the industry co-chair must be able to devote sufficient time to the ILG to support the achievement of all aspects of Scotland Outlook 2030. 

The duties of the co-chair may include but are not limited to, the following;

Manage and deliver ILG meeting 

  • attend and actively chair all ILG meetings, and if appropriate any sub-group meetings
  • set the ILG’s agenda and ensure that adequate time is available for discussion of all agenda items, in particular strategic issues
  • ensure that ILG sub-groups are properly structured with appropriate terms of reference
  • ensure that the ILG receives accurate, timely and clear information
  • ensure that the performance of the ILG and key members is evaluated at least once a year and act on the results of such evaluation

Lead on Scotland Outlook 2030 and its contribution to NSET 

  • set clear expectations concerning the ILG culture, values and behaviours and the style and tone of ILG discussions
  • ensure that the ILG has effective decision-making processes and applies sufficient challenge to major proposals
  • encourage all members to engage in ILG and sub-group meetings by drawing on their skills, experience, knowledge and, where appropriate, independence
  • demonstrate ethical leadership and promote the highest standards of integrity, probity and corporate governance throughout
  • promote a culture of mutual respect, openness and debate by facilitating the effective contribution of members in particular and ensuring constructive relations
  • ensure effective communication with all stakeholders
  • play a leading role in ensuring that Scotland Outlook 2030 remains connected to the National Strategy for Economic Transformation, Regional Economic Strategies and other sector strategies

Global ambassador for tourism and hospitality in Scotland

  • effectively communicate the vision and purpose of the ILG
  • advocate for and represent the ILG at external meetings and events
  • proactively engage with the Ministers and the Ministers’ offices to support the growth of the Scottish economy

Time commitment 

The industry co-chair must be able to commit sufficient time and resource to drive the delivery of Scotland outlook 2030 and to ensure that it is directly contributing to the NSET priorities. 

This will include attending main ILG meetings, (currently four per year with further online meetings as required); sub-group meetings as required, and interim catch up sessions with the Ministers and other key players in the sector. This position is voluntary and not remunerated.

Tourism and Hospitality Leadership Group: terms of reference
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