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North hotelier and former UHI chief operating officer to join Highland tourism board

By Calum MacLeod

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New Highland Tourism board member Andrew Mackay.
New Highland Tourism board member Andrew Mackay.

North tourism body, Highland Tourism CIC, has added more talent to its board by recruiting former Inverness and Nairn Enterprise chief executive Fiona Larg and Caithness hotelier Andrew Mackay.

They join existing board members Stuart McColm, general manager of Castle Stuart Golf Links, Chris O’Brien, managing director of Nevis Range and Willie Cameron, business development director, Cobbs, along with Highland Tourism co-founders Yvonne Crook, director of Good Food Highland, and Sam Faircliff, managing director of Cairngorm Brewery.

Highland Tourism chairwoman Yvonne Crook welcomed the new additions who will bring greater inclusivity and widen the board's geographical coverage.

She said: “I am delighted to welcome Fiona and Andy to the Highland Tourism board. The strength of the board of directors as well as the 40 ambassadors and 10 community groups we now have working with us is testament to the need for change in tourism in the Highlands.

“We have fantastic community and sub-regional destination efforts and collaboration but this is not enough. We have world-class golf and country sports as well as adventure based activities and we have a world-class natural environment within which we all operate. We have a climate change imperative yet we have no sustainable vision or strategy for the Highlands as the second top best known Scottish brand in the world. The industry are now ready to lead and drive a new vision ”

Fiona Larg.
Fiona Larg.

Fiona Larg recently stepped down as chief operating officer and secretary for the University of the Highlands and Islands after a 12-year period and has taken on a new role as SCDI Highlands and Islands committee chairwoman.

A chartered accountant by background, she was appointed chief executive of Inverness and Nairn Enterprise and in that role was influential in the successful formation and admission to the Scottish League of Inverness Caledonian Thistle Football Club and has volunteered in a non-executive capacity on the boards of charities and business organisations.

She said: “The tourism industry is one of the most important in the Highlands which provides much needed jobs in remote communities and attracts visitors from across the world. I am delighted to have been invited to join the board of Highland Tourism and look forward to working with like-minded individuals to help create a world class, sustainable, tourism experience across our region.”

Her fellow new board appointee is Andrew Mackay, owner of The Caithness Collection group which operates three hotels in the county, a Venture North board member, regional committee member of the Hospitality Industry Trust and a director with Caithness Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Mackay commented: “I’m delighted to join Highland Tourism CIC’s new leadership team as a member of the board. A fresh, collaborative and energetic approach is required now to address issues affecting the tourism industry across the whole of Highlands and I look forward to working with a great team of board members, ambassadors and Highland communities in paving the way for a world leading sustainable future for our industry.”

The new leadership team is in the process of preparing a business plan for Highland Tourism CIC.

This will enable it to apply for funding to establish the new organisation as a strategic development, private sector led business organisation that will drive the future development of sustainable tourism in the Highlands.

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