VisitScotland looks for new CEO as Roughead retires

Malcolm Roughead

VisitScotland CEO Malcolm Roughead is to retire after more than 20 years with the national tourism organisation.

VisitScotland said a recruitment process for a new chief executive will begin as soon as possible.

Tourism contributes more than £4 billion a year to the Scottish economy.

Roughead first joined the organisation in May 2001 as director of marketing and was appointed CEO in September 2010.

He will retire later this year.

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.

“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.”

International travellers to Scotland made 1.2 million visits to the country in the second quarter of 2023 and spent a record £1 billion, according to quarterly International Passenger Survey (IPS) tourism statistics from the UK’s Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The statistics show there were 1,163,000 inbound visits to Scotland in Q2 of 2023, surpassing Q2 of 2019 by 27% and Q2 of 2022 by 50%.

Inbound visitors spent £1.087 billion in nominal terms in Q2 of 2023, up 53% from Q2 of 2019.

In total, 10.6 million nights were spent in Scotland by inbound visitors in Q2 of 2023, up 46% on Q2 of 2019 but up 43% vs Q2 of 2022.

The average spend per visit was £935 in Q2 of 2023, up 20% in nominal terms vs Q2 of 2019 and up 6% in real terms.

The average length of stay in Q2 of 2023 was 9.1 nights, which was longer than in Q2 of 2019 (8.0 nights) but shorter than Q2 of 2022 (9.6 nights).