Tourism body election policy agenda launches at flagship conference in Aberdeen

STA Chief Executive Marc Crothall

THE Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) has today published its latest Policy Agenda, which sets out a series of ambitious priorities ahead of the forthcoming UK general election and the next Scottish Parliament election in 2026, which are designed to:

  1. Promote tourism as a force for good – a key driver of job creation, investment and economic growth across all parts of Scotland, benefitting our local communities.

2. Improve and streamline the policy and regulatory landscape to foster more effective business and governmental cooperation and decision making.

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3. Cement Scotland’s status as a leading tourism destination, striking a balance between cost-competitiveness and high quality of visitor experience.

    4. Enhance transport and digital connectivity for an effortless visitor experience, harnessing new innovations.

    5. Attract and nurture a skilled and diverse workforce within the tourism and hospitality sector.

    The organisation, which represents all sectors within Scotland’s tourism industry shares its policy asks at the industry’s flagship event to mark Scottish Tourism Month, held at the P&J Live in Aberdeen.

    ‘Our Industry Manifesto to Support Scotland in Becoming a World Leader in 21st Century Tourism’ is a bold response to the unprecedented challenges faced by the tourism and hospitality sector in recent years, presented by both the global pandemic and evolving economic pressures within the UK.

    The organisation’s Policy Agenda highlights the spirit and resilience of Scotland’s tourism and hospitality sector, emphasising its vital role in the Scottish and wider UK economy.

    Despite facing a raft of challenges in recent years in relation to government policy, rising energy costs, economic conditions and the cost-of-living crisis, the sector remains resilient in overcoming these obstacles, and continues to aim high in realising the vision at the heart of Scotland’s Tourism Strategy, Scotland Outlook 2030, that Scotland will be a leader in 21st century tourism.

    The Policy Agenda publication has been developed by the STA’s Policy Working Group in close consultation with its Member Council, Destination Forum and Board members.

    Key Highlights of the Scottish Tourism Alliance’s Policy Agenda Include:

    • Robust Recovery Focus: The manifesto details the sector’s survival through the pandemic, its challenges in relation to Brexit and the significant financial stress which the sector continues to face, showcasing a roadmap for a dynamic and sustainable recovery.
    1. A Vision for the Future: With a forward-looking stance, the STA’s manifesto aligns with the national tourism strategy, Scotland Outlook 2030, setting ambitious goals to position Scotland as a frontrunner in global tourism as we move towards 2030, supported by the valuable role of destination organisations in helping realise this ambition across our local communities.
    2. Strategic Policy Asks: The STA calls upon future Scottish and UK Governments to ensure a policy and regulatory landscape that minimises regulation burdens, supports economic growth and fosters transparent, collaborative policymaking.
    3. Economic and Societal Contributions: Highlighting the sector’s role as an economic powerhouse and force for good, the Policy Agenda underscores how a thriving tourism and hospitality industry benefits not just the economy but communities, heritage, culture and the environment.

    Commenting on the publication of the organisation’s Policy Agenda, Marc Crothall, CEO of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said:

    “The STA’s Policy Agenda is a strategic framework aimed at inspiring collective action among stakeholders within governments, public bodies and private enterprise.”

    “Its publication comes at a crucial juncture for our industry and serves as a clarion call to action for policy and decision-makers to work more closely with the tourism and hospitality sector in not only mitigating the challenges ahead, but in seizing the opportunities which will enable Scotland to unlock its potential as a world leader in 21st-century tourism.”

    “Our destination organisations have a crucial role to play in promoting and managing tourism across on the ground to deliver Scotland Outlook 2023 and at the moment, are working within a particularly challenging climate in relation to funding.”

    “The STA Policy Agenda is very much an appeal to foster an enabling environment to realise the sector’s strength of ambition and drive economic prosperity whilst upholding Scotland’s distinct heritage, environmental assets, vibrant communities and skilled and passionate workforce.”

    “It outlines key priorities such as investing in infrastructure and digital capabilities, promoting sustainable practices, dispersing tourism activity across the country and improving accessibility for all visitors.”

    “We also recognise that Scotland’s tourism industry is only as strong as its workforce which is why our Policy Agenda places a strong focus on developing and supporting a skilled and sustainable tourism workforce through fair employment practices, investing in training and development programmes and encouraging diversity and inclusivity within the sector.”

    “It is in the best interests of governments on both sides of the border to ensure the continuing success of Scottish tourism and hospitality can be held up to the world.”

    The STA Policy Agenda was launched at the Scottish Tourism Month Signature Conference ‘Breakfast, Policy & Politics Session’, hosted by Brian Taylor featuring frontbench politicians from Westminster and Holyrood, followed by a panel of leading industry trade body chairs and chiefs.

    The full Policy Agenda document is available to view and download at

    Further details about the conference’s ‘Breakfast, Policy & Politics’ panel session and speakers can be viewed at

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