THE chief executive of VisitScotland, Malcolm Roughead, is stepping down from the role.

Scotland’s tourism marketing agency announced today that Mr Roughead is set to retire after more than 20 years with the organisation.

He has been chief executive of the publicly funded body since September 2010.

Mr Roughead’s career with VisitScotland has seen the industry face a number of major challenges, including the foot and mouth crisis and the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States. He recently guided the agency through the pandemic, which caused massive upheaval across the tourism industry, and helped promote the UCI Cycling World Championships in Glasgow last summer.

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VisitScotland said Mr Roughead, who received the OBE in 2006, had put responsible tourism at the forefront of the organisation’s work. It became the first national tourism organisation to declare a climate emergency and was on the drafting committee of the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism.

Lord Thurso, chair of VisitScotland, said: “Malcolm’s leadership of VisitScotland has been exemplary through some very difficult times. His achievements in promoting Scotland as a destination and a brand, in turn driving Scotland’s economy, have been outstanding.

“I would like to thank him for all that he has contributed over the years, and I wish him the very best for his retirement.”

Mr Roughead said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to have led such a talented team for so long. From the challenges of foot and mouth, 9/11 and Covid, to the opportunities of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, it has been a fascinating journey.

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“I have no doubt that the organisation will continue to go from strength to strength and I look forward to supporting the transition over the next few months before my retirement.