Skip to main content
Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 13/09/2023

Our Meet the Team series is a monthly spotlight on staff across VisitScotland and EventScotland. In this feature, hear from our Senior North Regions & Sectors Marketing Manager, Steve Duncan, who works within our Brand and Global Marketing team. 

Steve Duncan
Steve on his 200th Munro, Kintail

Tell us a bit about yourself...

Following a career change from retail management in 1998, I undertook a BA in Tourism at the University of the Highlands & Islands and on completion of that, started working for Perthshire Tourism Board (PTB) in 2000 as their Activities Tourism Manager. 

I’ve been a keen hillwalker since 1990, with over 300 hills under my belt and a road cyclist and mountain biker for longer than that – so I landed my dream job with PTB and I've not looked back since.

What's your role at VisitScotland?

I've held a few different roles over my 20 years at VisitScotland, mostly including sectoral work supporting outdoor/activities tourism and food and drink.

Currently I’m the Senior North Regions and Sectors Marketing Manager (quite a mouthful of a title!).

I've worked in regional marketing for 11 years, with our wonderful regional marketing and destination development colleagues, to promote Scotland's north regions. I cover a range of areas, from Perthshire all the way up to Shetland.

I also work with external sectoral groups and internal colleagues to promote outdoor activities. More recently, I've spent a lot of time  developing our cycling tourism proposition and working with colleagues to promote Scotland as a leading cycling tourism destination. 

Bridge of Ross Perthshire
Bridge of Ross, Perthshire

You’ve just finished working on the UCI Cycling World Championships. Can you tell us about your role, and what the championships mean for the legacy of cycling in Scotland?

For several weeks prior to the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, I was supporting the Spectator Manager to produce the nine spectator guides for the venues and events around Scotland. This was a great experience!

During the championships, I supported their marketing team as a Content Editor, helping to keep the website up to date and adding news stories and features and also helped produce twice daily emails that were sent to around 45,000 contacts. I loved the pace and energy of the marketing during the championships and the team spirit was fantastic.

In my current role, I’ve been spending a lot of time working with internal and external colleagues to build our Scotland. Made for Cycling. proposition ahead of hosting the championships, which has been a really rewarding experience.

A key policy aim of the championships was to change attitudes about cycling in Scotland for health and well-being, sport, active travel, events and tourism.

My role now focuses on building awareness of all the amazing cycling experiences that Scotland can offer as part of a visitor experience. And along with our partners and industry, look to capitalise on this opportunity to increase visitor dwell time and spend with new audiences. The hard work to sustain this once-in-a-generation opportunity is now on.

Scotland. Made for Cycling

How can businesses get involved in maintaining the momentum for cycling?

If businesses are looking to attract cyclist’s, mountain bikers, e-bikers, and gravel bikers they should take a look at our brilliant Cycling Tourism Industry Guide. It provides links to new research and some great tips and ideas on how to optimise your offering to provide guests with the best experiences.

Also, I recommend taking a look at your local cycling infrastructure. From biking trails, mountain bike centres, waymarked routes, Sustrans National Cycle Network routes, bike hire, bike shops and great places to stop along routes, so you can share these with your guests.

Thanks to the Cycling Facilities Fund, over the next few years there will be lots of new cycling facilities opening up too, so find out more about what’s opening locally, as these could bring new visitors too you.

We’ve seen this recently with projects such as Tarland Trails 2 in Aberdeenshire and with the Kirkpatrick C2C: South Scotland’s Coast to Coast route.

Take a look at the Cycling Tourism Industry Guide

Do you have a favourite place in Scotland that you love to visit, or where’s next on your Scotland bucket-list?

With only 60 Munros left to climb, my heart is definitely in the Highlands and Argyll. Mountaineering has taken me to so many amazing off-the-beaten track places and I love the quieter parts of the West Highlands and up into Assynt further north.

I’ve also been to quite a few islands, which I really love visiting – the slower pace of life and the quieter places are ideal for chilling and re-charging. I love a dram from time to time and I’ve yet to get to Islay, so I’d like to head out there sometime soon to explore some of the distilleries, beaches and nature reserves.

I also had many family holidays in the Oban area when I was growing up and have always fancied taking a wander around the Isle of Kerrera in Oban Bay – Gylen Castle there looks amazing.

Sign towards distillery in Islay

Related links