Gail has written to the new Chair of Visit Scotland, ex Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP, Viscount Thurso to ask him what plans he has to promote Caithness, Sutherland and Ross. Viscount Thurso, who was unsuccessful in the Westminster Election in May 2014 was yesterday announced as the new Chairperson of the Scottish Tourism organisation.
With significant industry experience, John became Europe’s youngest 5 star hotel manager when appointed Managing Director of the Savoy Group’s Lancaster Hotel in Paris at age 27.
Following five successful years in Paris, John then led a number of hospitality businesses to success including Blakeney Hotels of Cliveden, which became the UK’s highest rated hotel under his leadership, East Sussex National Golf Course and Fitness & Leisure Holdings.
John served as a non-executive on a number of public company boards including The Savoy PLC, Millenium and Copthorne PLC. He is also Chairman of his family company in Caithness and for many years owned The Ulbster Arms in Halkirk.
He sat in the House of Lords between 1995 and 1999 and from 2001 to 2015 was MP for Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross.
He was awarded a "Catey" for services to Tourism 2003, was made an honourary DBA by Oxford Brookes in 2004, is a Master Innholder and a Fellow of The Institute of Hospitality and is President of the Tourism Society. In 2014 he was made a Privy Councillor by The Queen.
John will take the reins from Mike Cantlay OBE who will step down on 31 March 2016, with John being appointed Chair for three years from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2019.
"Having known John for a number of years I am looking forward to seeing how we can work together to promote the far north through Visit Scotland. The recent creation of the NC500, the whisky trails, the archeology, the big skies, the nature, the breathtaking scenery - we have a lot to offer in my constituency and we need to promote this. John knows only too well both the challenges and the opportunities we have here. I hope that being from Caithness will give him a greater sense of what needs to be done."