THE development of the tourism industry in the South of Scotland is now in 'experienced' hands, as VisitScotland announces its new destination development director.

Gordon Smith, who has worked in tourism for more than 26 years and for VisitScotland since 2005, has today (February 2) taken up the new role.

As director of destination development Mr Smith will be responsible for leading the recovery of tourism in the South of Scotland in a bid to make Scotland a "world leader in 21st century tourism".

On his appointment, Mr Smith said: “It has been an incredible challenging time for our tourism and events industry in recent years and our focus remains on supporting the ongoing recovery of this valuable part of our economy.

“I look forward to taking up this role at an exciting time for the South of Scotland.

"The region received global recognition from its inclusion on Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel Guide 2023 and as we countdown to hosting key events as part of the UCI Cycling World Championships and the opening of the coast-to-coast cycle route, we will build on the important partnerships we have in place in the South of Scotland to drive forward tourism recovery and continue to strengthen the economy of the south.”

Mr Smith will also work with destination development directors for the Highlands and Islands and Central and North East regions, as well as relevant agencies and partners to deliver the work of the National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET).

Rob Dickson, VisitScotland director of industry and destination development said: “I would like to congratulate Gordon Smith on this appointment to what is key role in the South of Scotland. Gordon has considerable experience in partnership and stakeholder relations, as well as extensive knowledge of all aspects of tourism during his varied career. He is very familiar with the needs of the tourism industry and is well placed to support development of the sector in the region.

“Gordon will lead on our key strategic relationships in the South of Scotland, working with South of Scotland Enterprise, both councils, the South of Scotland Destination Alliance and other partners to support the responsible growth of our tourism and events industry.

“Tourism is a force for good. It creates jobs, sustains communities and contributes significantly to the economy and I am confident that Gordon will ensure this is the case in the South of Scotland.”

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