Meet The Team

Marc CrothallMarc Crothall
CEO


Bio

Chief Executive – The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) – 55 yrs. young!

Appointed as the first CEO of the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) Marc has been at its helm since its inception in 2012. He is responsible for the day to day operations and leadership of the organisation which is the overarching tourism industry trade body and acknowledged as being “The lead representative voice of Scotland’s Tourism Industry”..

The STA has under its umbrella of membership circa 70% of the c15000 tourism facing business that operate length and breadth of the country. The organisation are lead strategic guardians and co-ordinators of Scotland’s national tourism Strategy Tourism Scotland 2020 (TS2020). The STA are also the joint lead with sister trade body Scotland Food and Drink of Scotland’s first Food Tourism Strategy.

Marc is a member of the Tourism Leadership Group (TLG) that has shaped and now steers Tourism Scotland 2020 (TS2020), He chairs the strategy sub steering group that is charged with leading the development of the national tourism strategy action plan beyond TS2020. He is also the industry representative on the Scottish Government’s High- Level Tourism Working Group (TWG) chaired by the Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop MSP.

Marc also chairs the STA Industry Council and the National Marine Tourism Development Group. He is a member of the UK Government’s Scottish Business Task Force an advisory board member of Springboard Scotland, and a board member of Interface.

Prior to taking up his post with the STA Marc spent 35+ years working in the front line of the Hospitality, Event, Sport & Leisure industries across the globe for both large high profile multinational organisations such as Gilbey’s (South Africa), Sheraton Hotels, Compass Group, The Tussauds Group, Whitbread, David Lloyd Leisure and some leading medium and small rural business’ too.

He believes whole heartedly that “Tourism is Everyone’s Business” and that providing great experiences, investing in people, technology and service quality are the essential ingredients to making Scotland’s visitor economy thrive and prosper in the way it does.

His passion is rugby and he is a lover of all things Scottish, especially his Glaswegian wife, his five Scottish born children 27yrs to twins of 10 and the nation’s food and drink. Although not born and educated in Scotland his family ancestry traces back though Clan Sinclair and despite his many years spent abroad he has lived, breathed and spent most of his working life in Scotland!

Elaine TownsendElaine Townsend
Finance Manager


Bio

What I do: My role is Business Support Manager

Date joined: June 2004

Likes: Seafood, musicals, wine, cruise holidays

Dislikes: Very hot and spicy food, over crowded trains

Hobbies: Tennis, gym classes, watching most sports, spending time with the family

Favourite Scottish holiday: Kenmore, 1995.  We stayed in a lodge overlooking Loch Tay – pure tranquillity, beautiful scenery, very relaxing.

TS2020 Team

Karen Christie

Tourism Strategy Project Manager (Coordinator)


Bio

What I do:

I am the Project Manager (Coordinator) for the national tourism strategy, Tourism Scotland 2020 (TS2020). The STA are guardians of the strategy on behalf of the industry so I’m responsible for keeping everything on track and making sure we are working towards the TS2020 targets.

Date joined: 

April 2018

Likes: 

Travelling overseas, experiencing different cultures, enjoying good food and great wine, hill walking in the sunshine. Having said that, there is nothing to beat a picnic and a game of footie with the kids on a windswept Scottish beach.

Dislikes: 

Enclosed spaces, celery, poor service.

Hobbies: 

Cooking (I’m an enthusiastic beginner), reading, cycling with the kids and generally trying to keep fit.

Favourite Scottish holiday: 

A few years ago my husband and I embarked on our very first Scottish road trip, I had never been north of Inverness I’m ashamed to say, so we jumped in the car and headed up to John O Groats, across to Durness, down to Ullapool and from there across to the beautiful western Isles, Lewis, Harris, North Uist, South Uist and Barra before making the journey back to Oban. Wow, what a trip, amazing seafood, breathtaking scenery and fantastic little B&Bs and hotels along the way. We had such great memories of this trip that we later named one of our twin boys Harris!

 

Membership Team

MhairiMhairi Smith
Business Support & Membership Manager


Bio

What I do: 

My primary role is Membership Relations but I also support both the marketing & event teams.  

 

Date joined:

August 2017

Likes:

Spending time with my family and friends, a good film, red wine and dark chocolate - preferably all together!

 

Dislikes:

Housework.

 

Hobbies:

Travel, interior design, Spanish, swimming and yoga.

Favourite Scottish holiday

Road trip up the West coast of Scotland with my best friend at the age of 19 – amazing food & drink, beautiful scenery and some great pottery!

Communications Team

Mhairi ClarkeMhairi Clarke
Communications Director


Bio
What I do:
I’m comms strategy creator, PR doer, government lobbyist - I make sure that the STA is connecting and engaging with its Members on a meaningful level and that we occupy a great place in the minds of all our stakeholder audiences via strategic, consistent communication across a variety of platforms. Translation: I create opportunities for people to think great things about the STA and understand the issues that our tourism industry faces so that we, as the industry voice can bring about the best possible economic conditions for our tourism to grow.
Date joined:
May 2015 (previously freelance for STA)
Likes:
Travelling adventures with my son, writing for all sorts of stuff (mainly my travels), white t-shirts and jeans, Karl Pilkington, Larry David, trainers, music, books, lots and lots of films, good people, exciting people, hilarious people, sunshine every day.
Dislikes:
Snakes, heights, most things relating to numbers, bad people, being cold
Hobbies:
Hot yoga, writing, travel (I’m also a travel writer) doing great fun stuff with my 14 year old son.
Favourite Scottish holiday
Every holiday I’ve had in Islay since I was a child (with the exception of the one where I was left standing on the pier while my entire family sailed off in a big Cal Mac ferry…) but most notably the Summer of 2009 because it was hot every day, I ran every day and had the best fun with my family (before the year they left me on the pier…)

Gillian BrymerGillian Brymer
Digital Communications Manager


Bio

What I do: 

I’m responsible for making sure that the STA stay connected and engaged with our members and stakeholders. As I am interested in all things digital therefore have started to focus more on the online elements of the STA comms strategy.

Date joined:

February 2014

Likes:

Summer, The Office, Jon Snow (the journalist, not GOT's King in the North), Glaswegian comedians. A good night-in; good food, phone off, film and a bottle of Innis & Gunn in hand.

Dislikes:

I'm terrified of heights, when people don’t treat others as equals, midges

Hobbies:

Travel when I can, attempting to ‘up-cycle’ old furniture which often leaves my flat looking like a construction site. Not sure I should admit it, attempting to grow all types of fruit and veg (yes I'm a person in their late 20s who loves an allotment).

Favourite Scottish holiday

Hard choice…

Last minute weekend away in Fort William was excellent. Jam-packed and simple to organise!

We took the West Highland Line from Glasgow to Fort William, which is one of the most scenic train route in Britain. Three and a bit hours later we got to our hotel, dumped the bags and had an active day; cycling, hillwalking and a quick visit to Nevis Range. We finished off our weekend on the shore of Loch Linnhe at the seafood restaurant, Crannog – I recommend tucking into their seafood platter.