The opportunity to enter the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards is brought to you by the HITA Board of Directors. Each of our twelve Board members offers their time and services on a voluntary basis and is committed to a ‘giving back’ tourism effort. We believe the HITA Board should be made up of individuals who have extensive knowledge of the industry and who are passionate and driven to find the very best individuals and businesses within the Highlands & Islands Tourism industry and to help these people be recognised for their hard work and achievements.
Board of Director Chair – Laurence McPherson Young, Director of Glencoe Activities Limited, Director of RiverBeds Luxury wee Lodges with Hot Tubs, Director of Scottish Segway Centre, Director of Ossian Developments Limited, Director of Surgeons Lodge Limited.
Laurence is the Board of Director Chair and finds the depth of innovation and creativity in tourism business across the Highlands to be both impressive and heartening. Encouraging businesses to enter Laurence says “Do it once and see! Don’t take the application to seriously; simply tell a story about your business”.
Director and Vice-Chair – Lorna Maclennan, Strategic Officer: Townscape Heritage Project a Highland Council.
Being from the Islands herself, Lorna travels regularly to the Outer Hebrides and is proud to have been born into an area with such a rich culture and heritage. When asked why she would encourage businesses to enter, Lorna said that reflecting on what has gone well and putting yourself or your business forward to be recognised is important. “I feel very strongly that we all need to get better at talking about what we do well!”
Director – Craig Ewan, General Manager of Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness
This will be Craig’s ninth year serving on the HITA Board and he was Chair for three of these years. He says it was his passion of the industry and the want for “…the entire destination to excel” that got him involved in HITA. Craig continues to be inspired by the winners and the young people who enter or are nominated. “They (HITA Awards) are recognised as quality awards, which hold significant respect from within and out with the industry.”
Director – Joan Campbell MBE, Silver Thistle Winner and Tourism Representative for the FSB
Joan was also a founding member of the HITA awards and it was a desire to support and promote quality tourism in the Northern Highlands that encouraged her to get involved with the awards. When asked why these awards are significant and why businesses should enter, Joan said that as well as the obvious advantages of publicity and marketing gained through becoming shortlisted for a HITA, “…sometimes businesses need a lift, something in tourism that excites them and gives them a date to look forward to that then becomes a date to remember.”
Director – Marina Huggett, Director of Tourism Excellence Consultancy, Chairperson of Perfect Manors, Director of Scottish Tourism Alliance
Marina has served on the Board since the very beginning in 2004 where she previously was involved in supporting the Inverness, Loch Ness and Nairn Tourism Awards and was HITA Chair for six years. Marina is hugely passionate about tourism in the Highlands and Islands and is focused on encouraging tourism businesses and individuals to grow, develop and be the best that they can be. Marina believes the HITA awards are fair, open and recognise “the best of the best” in the Highlands & Islands.
Director – Steve Barron, Group Advertisement Director at SPP Media Group.
Steve has served on the HITA board since 2011 and not only enjoys giving something back to the industry but feels it’s a “…great personal development experience to serve alongside and learn from some fantastic fellow board members.” He strongly feels that businesses should enter as the rewards of entering, being shortlisted and winning (hopefully) are huge and that as well as being a boost to your team and gaining publicity across the region, the opportunity for winners to go through to the Thistle Awards is fantastic.
Director – Willie Cameron, Highland Tourism Ambassador 2005 and 2019 winner of the ‘Silver Thistle’ at the Scottish Thistle Awards.
After being awarded with the Highland Ambassador Award in 2005, Willie was aware of the benefits it provided him with and felt that being appointed to the HITA board enabled him to put something back into an industry which had given him his livelihood. Willie says “Entering these awards will pave your way to the future success of your business…” and that by winning and even shortlisted is a great opportunity for your business to be recognised.
Director – Calum Ross, Proprietor of Loch Melfort Hotel
Calum joined the Board after being a judge in previous years and a Regional Ambassador Award winner. Calum feels that the HITA awards are important as they “celebrate success” and are “a great way to focus on what’s best or what can be improved” within a business.
Director – Lindsey Randall, General Manager of the Macdonald Drumossie Hotel
New to the HITA Board and invited by fellow member Craig, Lindsey is thrilled to be a part of the team behind the awards that “really focus on how great hospitality is in the Scottish Highlands.” Hospitality in the Highlands, to Lindsey, means going above and beyond to give those who visit us, the very best in Scottish hospitality.
Director – Elizabeth Mackintosh, Owner of Achmony Holidays and 2018 Highland Ambassador Award winner.
Liz was the very first HITA chair for five years and alongside Marina, was involved in establishing the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards. She is a mentor, guide and role model for many in the industry. Liz is passionate about tourism and hospitality and says “We are truly blessed to live in such a wonderful part of the world. I love to share it with our visitors so that they can experience the beauty and peace in our local surroundings. People leave feeling revitalised after their holiday and this drives me to keep going.”
Director – Inglis Lyon, Managing Director of Highlands and Islands Airports Ltd.
Inglis has served on the HITA board since 2015 and has always been interested in these awards and his role with HIAL gives him great insight into what makes local businesses successful. “The most impressive part (of the awards process) is the range of entrants, from large corporates to small enterprises selling sea food in Ullapool. Importantly, they all have as much of a chance of winning as the next person.”
Director – Ken Macaulay, Former owner of Tulloch Castle Hotel
Ken has been a board member since the very beginning of HITA and is an extremely proud Highlander who although has travelled the world, still believes the Highlands is the best place to be. When asked how these awards have inspired him over time, Ken said that the awards are a celebration of all that Highland hospitality has to offer. “Our audience is getting younger and younger which is fantastic. It’s great to see enthusiastic individuals applying, leading the way and creating new milestones.”