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1 November 05
SCOTLAND UNITED - Tourism Conference

Scotland United will see hundreds of tourism businesses gather later this month (Monday 21st November 2005) for a lively debate on the vision for tourism. St Andrews Bay Golf Resort and Spa will host the fifth annual industry conference, where Patricia Ferguson MSP will unveil the new draft strategy for tourism.

Gavin Ellis

The conference will be chaired by Gavin Ellis, owner of Knockomie Hotel in Forres. Mr Ellis has owned Knockomie since 1987 and is the fifth generation of his family to be involved in the industry. He sees attendance at the conference as a must for anyone with an involvement in tourism.

Gavin said: "Scotland United offers everyone a real opportunity to have their voices heard by the people who make policies for this industry; it gives people the chance to hold the Tourism Minister and other policy makers to account.

"There is a finite time for people to contribute to the new strategy for tourism in Scotland so people must grab that opportunity while they can if they want to make sure their voices and opinions are heard. This conference gives them the best platform to make sure decision makers at the highest level are fully aware of the issues which need to be addressed to enable them to grow their businesses.

"It also offers a great opportunity for anyone involved with tourism to broaden their views by taking time out from their business and getting involved in open and frank discussions with others in the industry. This provides the opportunity to learn from others as well as investigating the challenges and opportunities facing the hospitality and tourism in the coming years."

Planning reform, transport infrastructure and accessibility of Scotland as well as the cost of doing business, whether that is, utility costs, quality assurance issues or taxation are also key areas that Scotland United 2005 will focus on. It will also offer the opportunity to discuss the issues surrounding the possible threat of avian flu and will examine where tourism will be in the next 10-20 years.

The industry in Scotland has a target shared with VisitScotland and the Scottish Executive to increase tourism revenue in Scotland by 50 per cent by 2015. This target may seem ambitious but rather than signifying an upsurge in the tourism industry it will simply ensure that Scotland retains its current share of world tourism.

Scotland United 2005 is led by the British Hospitality Association (BHA), the Scottish Tourism Forum and the tourism industry themselves and is funded by the Highlands and Islands Enterprise network (HIE), Scottish Enterprise and VisitScotland.

The evening before the conference (Sunday 20th November) a dinner and champagne reception, hosted by the BHA, will be held for delegates giving them a networking opportunity, with the chance to meet old acquaintances and new friends from throughout the tourism industry.

Maria Peter, HIE's senior development manager of tourism, said: "Tourism is vital to the future of Scotland. However it is an increasingly competitive global market place, with 193 countries in the world fighting for a share of the market, many of whom target the same customers as Scotland, with a product range that matches what Scotland has to offer.

"So the tourism industry in this country needs to be performing at the highest level to ensure it continues to be the world player it is now. Attendance at events like Scotland United 2005 can help those involved with the industry to stay ahead of the game. I am particularly interested in the range of new ecommerce products that Visitscotland.com will launch at this conference."

If you would like to attend, please contact Fiona at the Scottish Tourism Forum on 0131 220 6321.

More information about Scotland United 2005 can be found at

1 November 05
Scotland is renowned for its hospitable welcome to all who visit and its hotels were justly rewarded for their innovative style at The Springboard Awards for Excellence held at The Brewery in London, by taking away four awards and a highly commended.

In presenting the awards, Anne Pierce chief executive of Springboard commented, “The entries this year reflected the industry’s vision and effort in creating initiatives to attract and retain high calibre staff.”

“The companies and organisations who have excelled are reaping the rewards of a carefully constructed approach to the ongoing problem of staff shortages and will continue to thrive. Their successful initiatives send a clear message to the rest of the industry that this is the way forward.”

Michael Lennon, assistant manager of food and beverage at the Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa Edinburgh won the prestigious Ambassador’s Award. Sponsored by People Tree the award is given in recognition of outstanding achievement and innovation by a registered Springboard Ambassador whose activities have proven success in changing the perceptions towards and raising the profile of, a career in the industry. Michael’s innovative concept was for an interactive board game to give teachers and young people a ‘taste’ of the excitement of working in the tourism and hospitality industries and to realize the diverse career opportunities available.

Michael Lennon Receiving The Ambassadors Award

‘Who wants to be a Hotelier?’ was launched in May 2005 and has since been distributed to every high school in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Perth and Inverness, and to many other schools throughout Scotland.

The Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa was also highly commended in the Retention Award.

The Glasgow Hoteliers Personnel & Training Forum, which won the Recruitment Award last year, this year took the Education Award (large organization), sponsored by the HCIMA, for its Welcome2Hotels initiative, which sought to ensure that participating hotels delivered a consistent standard when providing work experience and other activities for schools. The judges commented that the initiative clearly built on existing relationships and was realistic without reinventing the wheel and was a worthy winner.

The Macdonald Aviemore Highland Resort won the new International Award, which was sponsored by the Berkeley Scott Group. The award was for a company that could demonstrate a specific overseas recruitment campaign with proven results. The hotel set up a Training Academy for its UK and overseas staff in order to build a highly skilled workforce. Links were established with the Cezar Ritz colleges in Switzerland and Croatia and with the Maltese Hospitality Academy, alongside a partnership with a Polish organisation. The hotel’s academy scheme was ‘very impressive’ said the judges, as was their willingness to employ people without any industry experience.

Marriott Hotels – Scotland Cluster, won the Diversity in Employment Award, sponsored by Jobcentre Plus. This Award recognises excellence in the recruitment of workforces that reflect the diversity of the communities in which they are based and demonstrating recruitment from diverse groups. Recognising that ongoing growth in the hotel sector has made recruitment a major area of concern the Marriott joined forces with local organisations and set its cap at attracting recruits from a broad spectrum, including lone parents, disabled people, ex-offenders and ethnic minorities. Bespoke training was provided in all skills and an in-house 'mentoring' scheme, described by the judges as ‘brilliant’, was introduced to provide new employees with backup.

The Springboard Awards for Excellence recognise outstanding practice by companies and individuals in addressing one of the industry’s most significant issues – attracting and retaining people. Each winning entry had to meet the award criteria of a clear strategy, address the specific need of their initiative, show clear aims and outcomes and provide proof of innovation, achievement, evaluation and use of partnerships.

For further information or images please contact:

Rachel Pearson

Tel : 020 7395 9484
Fax : 020 7497 2466

E : rachelp@springboarduk.org.uk


The Springboard Awards for Excellence winners were:

Springboard Special Award, sponsored by 3663: Cyrus Todiwala MBE

Ambassador’s Award, sponsored by People Tree: Michael Lennon, Sheraton Grand Hotel & Spa, Edinburgh

Best Regional Initiative, sponsored by HCTC: Compass Group UK & Ireland.

The Web Award, sponsored by P&G Professional: The People Tree

The Education Award (large organisation), sponsored by HCIMA: Glasgow Hoteliers Personnel & Training Forum

The Education Award (small organisation), sponsored by the Authentic Food Company: Asian & Oriental School of Catering

The Young People Award, sponsored by American Express: Compass Group UK & Ireland

Best Student Placement Provider (large organisation), sponsored by Alliance: Mitchells & Butlers

Best Student Placement Provider (small organisation), sponsored by Georgia Pacific: The Goring

Diversity in Employment Award, sponsored by Jobcentre Plus: Marriott Hotels, Scotland Cluster

The International Award, sponsored by the Berkeley Scott Group: Macdonald Aviemore Highland Resort

Best Employer Award (Hospitality & Leisure), sponsored by the BHA: Novotel London West

Best Career Progression Award, sponsored by VT Plus Training: Malmaison & Hotel Du Vin Hotels

The Retention Award, sponsored by Caterer.com: Red Carnation Hotels

The Recruitment Award, (Hospitality & Leisure), sponsored by Caterer & Hotelkeeper, Corus Hotels

The Recruitment Award, (Travel & Tourism), sponsored by Travel Weekly, Thomas Cook

The Corporate Citizenship Award, sponsored by the BII: Gala Group Ltd


Caithness Tourist Information