New tourism chief aims to showcase inspiring region

VisitScotland's new Regional Director, Jo Robinson.
VisitScotland's new Regional Director, Jo Robinson.

Showcasing the region as a tourism hotspot and developing and strengthening partnerships within Aberdeen City and Shire are amongst the aims of VisitScotland’s new Regional Director.

Jo Robinson, who is from Angus and has lived in Aberdeenshire for 13 years, expressed her delight at joining the national tourism organisation at such a pivotal time.

Next month, the new Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Tourism Company, known as VisitAberdeenshire, will begin to deliver the area’s tourism strategy, which aims to promote the area as a national and international destination for leisure and business.

Commenting, Jo said: “Tourism provides an international shop window for the North-east, creating 16,400 jobs and generating £351 million in visitor spend in 2014.

“Support for this area is vital to continue to build on this economic success and showcase what an inspiring place it is to visit and invest in.

“My role is to work collaboratively with the local authorities, destination organisations and other stakeholders to maximise the visitor economy and build on the successful development of tourism in Aberdeen City and Shire. It’s a really exciting time for tourism in Scotland, and I’m delighted to be working with our partners to help bring more visitors to the North-east, and ensure they enjoy the best possible experience while they are here.”

As 2016 is Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, Jo believes it is a fantastic time for Aberdeen City and Shire to promote its creative industries, both old and new.

She added: “From textiles to technology, architecture to fashion and design, this themed year will shine a spotlight on Aberdeen City and Shire’s greatest assets and icons, as well as our hidden gems.

“Our Pictish and medieval architecture is first-class, we have award-winning design featured in the Granite City and along the Banffshire coast, and countless businesses throughout the region creating high quality Scottish products.”

With the launch of the new VisitScotland Spirit of Scotland campaign, Jo is also looking forward to hearing about, and helping to create, more #ScotSpirit stories across Aberdeen City and Shire.

Jo added: “We want everyone who cares for Scotland to get behind this campaign by using #ScotSpirit and in doing so become ambassadors for the country and create this very special movement.

“Scotland is a unique place inhabited by a unique people – a combination that creates an inimitable spirit. The emotional pull of this spirit can’t be duplicated by other destinations. You have to come to Scotland to experience it. But once you’ve felt it, our spirit will stay with you forever.

“This is an exciting time for the region with the creation of new hotels, including the Crowne Plaza at the airport, the new Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) and the proposed new £100m Inchmarlo development on Royal Deeside.

“Tourism causes a ripple effect that touches every industry, business and community in Scotland and there is every reason that businesses in Aberdeen City and Shire should benefit from this too. Everyone can get involved and give our visitors the warmest welcome - from taxi drivers and shop assistants to hoteliers and B&B owners.”

After graduating with an MA (Hons) in History and International Relations from the University of Aberdeen, Jo pursued a career in the third sector with children’s charities JDRF and CLIC Sargent. More recently as Senior Corporate Partnerships Manager with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, she has led a national team to develop corporate partnerships with major UK businesses.

Seven years in the third sector has seen her working on national campaigns, securing corporate sponsorships, and organising high-profile charity events in partnership with the oil and gas industry. She has worked with communities throughout the UK and Ireland to fund key assets and deliver awareness and engagement programmes.

Jo - who is based at VisitScotland’s office in Aberdeen’s Fraser Place - now lives in Inverbervie, where she enjoys making the most of the outdoor activities on offer with her husband Nick and their sons, Daniel and Jake.