VisitScotland’s tour of region started in Arbroath

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The chief executive of VisitScotland visited Dundee and Angus yesterday, and his first stop was Arbroath.

Malcolm Roughead was in the area yesterday (Tuesday, October 25) as part of a special ‘Listening Tour’ organised by the national tourism organisation he leads.

Building on the success of the 2015 Chief Executive Listening Tour, Mr Roughead met with future tourism leaders from across Dundee and Angus, speaking directly to emerging talent in the industry while making lasting connections and forging new partnerships in the area.

Mr Roughead started his tour of the region at Hospitalfield House in Arbroath, hearing about the work taking place at the former residence of artist Patrick Allan-Fraser.

The historic mansion is currently in the process of a multi-million development which aims to transform the attraction into a key cultural hub for Angus and beyond, drawing on international links and an exceptional cultural heritage.

Hospitalfield also served up a chance to speak directly with some of the area’s entrepreneurs and innovative tourism figures at a roundtable discussion before a lunch meeting with Angus Council chief executive, Richard Stiff, at The Townhouse Hotel.

Mr Roughead concluded his Arbroath trip with a visit to the town’s iCentre at Arbroath Harbour.

Lucy Byatt, director of Hospitalfield, said: “Cultural organisations such as Hospitalfield in Arbroath play a vital role in supporting the development of the infrastructure for tourism in Angus and across the region.

“Hospitalfield is a beautiful location and a natural host for events such as the Listening Tour, and we are happy that Malcolm and the VisitScotland team chose to meet with industry figures and to hear of the innovation happening locally here at Hospitalfield.”

V&A Dundee, the final stop of the day, offered an opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at the construction of the Kengo Kuma design as it begins to take shape.

Set to open in 2018, V&A Dundee is the focal point of the £1 billion redevelopment of Dundee’s Waterfront.

Philip Long, director of V&A Dundee, said: “V&A Dundee will be a new world-class attraction, attracting tourists nationally and internationally to the city and the surrounding region.

“As the only V&A in the world outside London, and the only design museum in Scotland, we will help showcase Tayside as a visitor destination and support the region’s many established visitor attractions and emerging tourism businesses.

“We’re delighted to be working with VisitScotland on developing Dundee’s potential to be a major tourist destination, and to share the progress on the construction of the museum ahead of opening in 2018.”

Mr Roughead said: “Tourism is leading economic transformation in Dundee and Angus with projects like V&A Dundee bringing new opportunities to the region.

“It is fantastic to get the chance to witness these projects first hand and discuss, with industry pioneers from across the region, how we can capitalise on the wealth of opportunities offered by each.

“If we are to continue to compete in a competitive global market, the industry needs to embrace new technology, innovation and new ways of working –Dundee and Angus are very much at the forefront of this.”

He is visiting a number of locations across Scotland as part of his national tour.

A similar event last year saw him convene 13 meetings around the country, engaging with some 200 industry influencers.

The latest series of Chief Executive Listening Tour meetings gives tourism organisations and businesses access and opportunity, to speak directly to Mr Roughead.

This year’s meetings focus on emerging tourism industry leaders and younger tourism business owners, operators and influencers.

The tourism industry in Dundee and Angus supports more than 7,100 jobs in the area and in 2014 generated £105 million in visitor spend.

The full list of businesses that attended roundtable discussion at Hospitalfield House with Malcolm Roughead are:

· Scott Byrne, General Manager, Hospitalfield House

· Gary Hume, Rooms Division Manager, Double Tree Dundee

· Hannah Kemlo, Meeting & Events Manager, Double Tree Dundee

· Tom Watton, Producer & Project Manager, Vision Mechanics

· Louise Murphy, Owner of Dark Dundee

· Stewart Heaton, Owner of Dark Dundee

· Anna Day, Manager at UNESCO, Dundee City of Design