Everyone who works in the tourism sector in the Highlands and Islands is an ambassador for the industry and for the region.

If your job involves meeting the public you have an impact on whether their visitor experience is positive and something they wish to repeat and recommend to others.


To be given the title Ambassador of the Year is indeed a great honour given the thousands of people who work tirelessly to improve facilities and levels of service to make the Highlands and Islands and Scotland a more welcoming place for a holiday

I have now been involved in the hospitality industry for nearly 30 years, and through my various roles, I have a good insight into the changing expectations of visitors and the dedicated professionals who work to ensure these expectations are met or surpassed.

Running the Loch Melfort Hotel in Oban with my wife Rachel allows me to have hands-on experience of the day-to-day operation of a tourism business and first-hand knowledge of what visitors want, expect and enjoy during a visit to this part of the world.

That feedback influences my thinking and approach to my work as chairman of the British Hospitality Association Scotland and director of BHA UK, as well as a member of the VisitScotland board, director of Argyll & the Isles Tourism Co-operative Ltd and of the Scottish Tourism Alliance.

In turn, these roles allow me to campaign, lobby and make decisions in the best interests of tourism operators and the industry in general to help both succeed and thrive.

As a HITA judge, I am aware of the incredibly high standard of entries to the competition and what an achievement it is to make the shortlist or eventually receive a trophy. The bar is being raised year on year which is a tribute to everyone who pushes to achieve excellence and the best customer care.

My successor as Ambassador of the Year will be among those people; someone who is passionate about great service, cares about improving standards and strives to meet changing demands; someone who supports and advises other businesses for the greater good and acts as an exemplar for the industry.


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