Chris Foy, chief executive of VisitAberdeenshire, spoke of the importance of skills development and marketing collaboration to secure a dividend from new opportunities in the city and shire at a tourism event today, (Thursday, September 14) at Thainstone House Hotel in Aberdeenshire.
Mr Foy, who was appointed the chief executive of VisitAberdeenshire, the lead tourism agency for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire in August, shared his early thinking at the event hosted by the Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce.
He spoke about how VisitAberdeenshire and its partners can respond to the opportunity and expectation of growing the regional visitor economy. Mr Foy was joined by Malcom Roughead, chief executive of Visit Scotland, who also spoke at the event attended by 115 business people from throughout the North-east.
Mr Foy said, “We have the opportunity to cast a spotlight on the North-east in the coming years as the region is at the start of a renaissance stimulated by, among many other things, a £5billion investment in infrastructure. This investment alone will however not be enough to guarantee visitors, and as a region we must all work hard to put Aberdeenshire on the map as a leading tourism destination.
“The first step is to refresh our destination strategy to reflect the new opportunities and review progress against our 2020 targets. We know that Aberdeen has the capacity to meet the growing global appetite to experience authentic Scotland, which was recently voted as the most beautiful country in the world by travel publication Rough Guides.
"The combination of new investment, visitor experiences and quality accommodation can make the region competitive in a crowded market place. Our challenge at VisitAberdeenshire is to turn these assets into an accelerator for our visitor economy.”
VisitAberdeenshire chief executive Chris Foy has more than 25 years of tourism industry experience. Having previously held positions at the former London Tourist Board, London Development Agency, and in the heritage attractions sector, Chris arrived in Aberdeen from his most recent position at VisitBritain, the national tourism organisation for Great Britain as Head of Business Events.
During Chris’ time at VisitBritain, Scottish tourism has been integral to his roles. As head of Visit Britain’s 2012 Games unit, Chris led the implementation of a strategy to spread the tourism benefits of the Games to the whole of the UK, and after the Olympics, Chris led Visit Britain’s overseas network operations, before moving to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to work on the UK Government’s GREAT Britain campaign. Returning to Visit Britain in 2015 as head of nations and regions, his brief included leadership of the GREAT Inverness Loch Ness Fund.