The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has appointed Willie Macleod as its executive director in Scotland in a bid to forward the interests of its Scottish members.
Macleod is a director of New Lanark Mill Hotels and chair of Lennoxlove House, a five-star exclusive-use venue in East Lothian, and joined the association on 1 November.
Calum Ross, chairman of BHA Scotland and proprietor of the Loch Melfort Hotel, Argyll, said that Macleod's background in the hotel industry and experience of international and local tourism would bring a new dimension to the association's efforts to enhance the interests of its members and to grow the hospitality industry in Scotland.
"We know how important hospitality and the larger tourism industry is to Scotland, so the appointment of a BHA director here is critical. It will enable us to remove barriers to the industry's growth and help drive the industry forward to new heights," he said. "BHA members in Scotland, comprising larger, international hotels as well as privately owned hotels and restaurants, will massively benefit from Willie's input."
Macleod has been involved in the tourism and hospitality industry throughout his career. His experience includes international tourism and economic development consultancy with PwC and SQW Consulting and national tourist board operations and destination development as an executive director of VisitScotland.
More recently he has run his own consultancy firm, Wilson-Macleod Consulting, and has held a number of non-executive appointments, including the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh, the Scottish Tourism Forum and New Lanark Trust, a World Heritage Site
Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the BHA, said that the appointment reinforced the association's determination to promote the interests of its Scottish members - particularly following the publication of its report in October - Hospitality: Driving Scotland's Local Economies.
"This emphasises that the industry employs over 220,000 people throughout Scotland with a GVA of £8.6b, making it one of the country's most important employers. We believe we can create a further 43,000 jobs by 2020 - provided that the conditions for growth are in place - and all our efforts will be directed to achieving this aim."
Macleod said: "Clearly, the hospitality industry is a critically important employer in all areas of Scotland and our members in Scotland need the Scottish Government and its agencies to understand their concerns. We need to create wide awareness of the barriers to future growth and overcome these, so that we can create these new jobs. I am delighted to be playing a part in this critically important project."
By Neil Gerrard
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