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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 21/02/2022

We’ve been running a monthly feature so that you can get to know our team a little better! We’re asking members of staff from across VisitScotland to tell us a bit about themselves and their roles, as well as some of their favourite places to visit in our beautiful country. In the next of the series hear from Keith Campbell, Market Development Manager.

Tell us a bit about yourself...

“I’ve been in and around tourism for 20 years now having studied it at university in Edinburgh and always had a passion to travel. I’ve been lucky enough to experience both city/urban and rural tourism and the challenges and opportunities they bring and now, of course, have the privilege of promoting Scotland to our friends in long haul markets, particularly North America.

“Although I'm a proud Highlander, I am now an adopted Borderer and have enjoyed living and working in one of the most scenic areas of Scotland. You can often find me out for a ramble, walking amongst the beautiful rolling hills of the Scottish Borders countryside. A favourite is the Southern Upland Way, the section between Lauder and Melrose where in parts you can see for miles around you on a clear day.

“Other hobbies include reading (never enough time) and going to the gym, during COVID-19 lockdown I turned our garden shed into a one-man studio! While I can hit a golf ball and follow the tours, my other hobby is bowling and during the summer months can often be found on a green somewhere in the Borders. I’ve been known to win a trophy or two! One day I’ll use my hand-eye coordination to play on the fairways again.”

Keith Campbell walking in the Scottish Borders
Keith Campbell walking in the Scottish Borders

What is your role at VisitScotland and what are your main responsibilities?

“For the last four and a half years, I’ve been working in our North American Long Haul market team, a small but dedicated team working across all our key stakeholders such as the Scottish Government, Scottish Development International, Airlines and Travel Trade partners to raise the reputation of, and grow the value and volume of, visitors from the market to Scotland. A key focus for me is nurturing the relationships with the airlines that directly serve Scotland and encourage joint initiatives that ensure flight capacity is maximised.

“I play a small part within the North America team, helping Scottish tourism businesses internationalise by providing opportunities to directly connect with travel trade. I get to work with an enthusiastic bunch of travel professionals across North America and that is an understatement. Tour operators, including those in the golf market, and travel advisors across North America have and show so much love for Scotland that sometimes, they know more about Scotland than I do! The energy when we meet these people in-market is incredible and makes my job of sharing our tourism offering with them so much easier.”

It’s not been business as usual since March 2020, but it’s been great to see the return of travel trade events in recent months. How does it feel to be back showcasing Scotland at live events again?

“Towards the end of 2021, we were fortunate that travel restrictions had eased to allow myself and colleagues to attend both the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) conference held in Wales as well as the United States Tour Operators Association’s Annual Conference and Marketplace (USTOA) in California. While very different, one commonality was that it was invigorating to travel again and to meet our trade partners face-to-face which has been missing these last two years. The buzz during the networking events was evident to see and it’s clear that people are ready to travel again and that Scotland is in demand for future travel.

“With restrictions easing further across the globe, we’ll be meeting with more global golf buyers who have been selected to attend Scottish Golf Tourism Week in St Andrews, taking place 1 – 3 March. And looking further ahead, we’re excited to host more North American buyers to Scotland as part of our Discover Scotland Regional Showcases in the coming months and then to in-market activity later this year.

“While we live by a new normal, it does feel like we’re seeing travel return, slowly but surely, and I’m excited to be able to promote Scotland again with responsible and sustainable tourism at the heart of our messaging.”

Keith Campbell attending USTOA in 2021
Keith Campbell attending USTOA in 2021

The last couple of years have given us more time to explore our beautiful country. Where is your favourite place to visit in Scotland and what’s on your Scotland bucket list?

“When I’m not roaming the rolling hills of the Scottish Borders, my favourite place to visit is Loch Lomond. We all know the famous Runrig song, don’t we? The surrounding area and loch itself, for me, showcases the best of Scotland’s beauty especially with the backdrop of the majestic mountains that stretch for as far as the eye can see.

“I’ve been lucky enough to visit a large part of Scotland but two areas that have escaped me so far are the Isle of Mull and Shetland. The Up Helly Aa Festival is still at the top of my travel list – my grandparents were regular visitors and I’m sure I could still find one of the Shetland wool jumpers they brought back to me as a child!”

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