In this time of global crisis and uncertainty, we put the call out to leaders, CEOs, strategists and consultants to sit down and tell us, in their own words, what is going on and what is going to happen next in this vital global industry.

At this time last year, the value of civic alignment, as well the ideas of stakeholder engagement and digital excellence, were still being debated.

In COVID-19, those arguments went away. 

Rolling into January of 2021, there's not a destination organisation or a trade body out there who doesn't understand that stakeholder engagement, civic alignment and digital excellence are the future of tourism.

The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) is, in my opinion, one of the most effective tourism advocacy bodies in the world, a linchpin organization that connects tourism businesses, destinations, sectoral groups and other organizations to improve collaboration, knowledge-sharing and best practices.

A short eight years ago they embarked on an ambitious strategy to make Scotland a destination of choice for high quality, value-for-money and memorable customer experiences. The strategy was adopted by the government of Scotland, marking the beginning of an eight-year journey of alignment and development. The results have been nothing short of remarkable.

Four years into that strategy, the Scottish Tourism Alliance was so far ahead on the alignment piece that they shifted gears and started to work on aligning, improving and empowering individual assets and properties. Sound familiar?

Stakeholder engagement, digital sophistication, community-shared values...

Marc Crothall is the CEO of the Scottish Tourism Alliance; he's an industry veteran who worked his way up from his early days as a hotelier in Cape Town to lead one of the most effective tourism advocacy bodies in the world.

Marc is the driving force behind the STA, but he is quick to point out that the Tourism Scotland 2020 strategy was an industry-led collaboration and countless others make-up the stakeholder network that crafted the plan.

Tourism Scotland 2020 vision statementTourism Scotland 2020 vision

In March of this year the STA will embark on its next strategy, Scotland Outlook 2030, with the ambition of being a world leader in 21st century tourism.

Marc joins us today to talk about how the collaboration got started, the challenges and opportunities along the way, COVID-19 of course, and what’s next for the future of tourism in Scotland.