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ASSC Conference Speakers 2017

CameronWillie Cameron

Director of Visit Loch Ness Director of Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards & Founding Member of the Cobbs Group

Willie is a true Highlander who can trace his ancestry back to Conchra Kintail in the fourteenth century and has been brought up on salmon and, venison from Wester Ross and lamb and salt herring from the Island of Lewis and presently lives with his wife in Drumnadrochit, Loch Ness where they dine very well.

Willie has been at the forefront of The Food, Drink and Hospitality Industry in the Highlands of Scotland for the last 25 years. In 1994 he set up Loch Ness Marketing a creative marketing consultancy dealing with film, tv and media and went into business with Fraser Campbell at The Drumnadrochit Hotel. He went on to be Director of Highland Feast for ten years the food and drink festival of the Highlands.  Willie was founding director of Visit Loch Ness; was a board member of the UHI -Inverness College; sits on the Tourism Awards board and on the fundraising board of The Archie Foundation; is a founding director of the Cobbs Group of companies and as Business Development Director has helped in growing the company to 20 coffee shops, 3 hotels, 1 public house and an incredibly brilliant bakery based on the shores of Loch Ness in the village of Drumnadrochit. It started with one bakery 14 years ago now employs up to 40 personnel and will turnover in excess of £2million and have just secured a contract worth £250,000 with Aldi for their award winning Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie. Cobbs has been the official cake supplier to The Scottish Open Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games to name just a few of the high profile client list they have.

Willie has been a member of Scotland Food and Drink since their inception, The Scottish Bakers Federation, and acknowledges all the help he and Cobbs have had from HIE and Inverness Chamber.  He was awarded Highland Tourism Ambassador in 2005 and Cobbs were Highland Business of the Year in 2014 and also Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Ambassador 2016. Willie is a sought after after-dinner speaker, MC, auctioneer for charity, voice-over, story teller and tour guide.  A creative writer, an odd ode composer, a Burns Supper afficionado and general all round good guy.

Willie is known globally as “Mr. Loch Ness” for his frequent TV and radio appearances talking about a certain lady.  And although on the wrong side of twenty one he has just taken up the International Business Development Director role for Scotland’s first multi food and drink sector export collaboration incorporating a large number of high end quality producers from iconic areas of Scotland from Unst in Shetland to The Island of Arran. In 2017 Willie took this organisation to win The Scottish Export Awards Collaboration Prize of £10,000.  He has travelled this year to Dubai/Abu Dhabi/Austria/Germany/Ireland and China promoting Scottish Food and Drink. Whilst in China he signed a deal with Nanhu Travel of Guanghzou to bring 12,000 Chinese Tourists to Scotland.

His personal ambition at the moment is to get all of his cornucopia of Scottish food into the high end American food deli chain Dean and Deluca. If he succeeds – job done!!!!!!

 

David Smythe

Chairman, ASSC

David’s main occupation is farming, but 25 years ago, before e-mail and the internet, he diversified usefully into self-catering by developing on-farm cottages. Passionate about the wider self-catering and tourism industry in Scotland, David has chaired the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers ‘roughly since foot and mouth’ ensuring the sector is promoted and represented. He also currently chairs the Perthshire Tourism Partnership. A practical self-catering enthusiast and advocate, his holidays are always self-catering whether in Scotland, UK or European cities. It is the real holiday experience.

 

Fiona Campbell

Chief Executive, ASSC

Fiona was appointed as the ASSC’s first Chief Executive in February 2015. She owns and runs Mansefield House, a four star self-catering house in Argyll, while developing two other successful businesses concurrently. Until recently she sat on the board of the local
Community Development Trust. As a member of the ASSC for 13 years, she is proud to be a part of the critical role that the organisation plays in supporting self-catering in Scotland.

Provost Dennis Melloy

Provost of Perth & Kinross

 

 

 

Dr Alasdair Allan MSP

Minister for International Development and Europe, Scottish Government

Dr Alasdair Allan was appointed Minister for International Development and Europe in May 2016.  He was born in Ashkirk in the Scottish Borders in 1971 and attended Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities, gaining a PhD in Scots Language in 1998.  Prior to becoming an MSP Alasdair was senior media relations officer for the Church of Scotland. He was named Gaelic journalist of the year in 2006. He was also the National Secretary of the SNP from 2003 to 2006. Alasdair was elected MSP for the Western Isles in the 2007 election. He served on the Local Government and Communities Committee, the Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee and the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee, before becoming Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages in 2011.

When not working, he sings with the Back District Gaelic Choir in Lewis, with whom he has competed in the National Mod. He is learning Norwegian in his spare time

Grant Seaton

Senior Business Lending Manager, Cumberland Business, Cumberland Building Society

 

 

 

Henry Bankes

Head of Legal Affairs, Wyndham Destination Network EMEAI

Henry is Head of Legal Affairs, Wyndham Destination Network EMEAI, whose brands include Cottages.com, Hoseasons, James Villa Holidays, Blue Chip Holidays, Landal GreenParks and Novasol.

Henry also holds a number of Industry positions, notably, as a member of ABTA’s Policy Affairs Committee, the Legislative Council of the Resort Development Organisation, The Tourism Alliance Board and The European Holiday Homes Association Board.

 

Carlos Villaro Lassen

Secretary General, European Holiday Home Association

 

 

Karen Spencer

Founder, The Business of Holiday Rental

Karen helps owners release the potential in themselves as business owners and run their holiday home as a business, not an expensive hobby. To ultimately earn more, to feel empowered, to be in control and to run the business they first dreamed of.  She is an experienced, quality holiday cottage owner.  On a budget, she took her cottage from bland to something rather special.  She now attracts guests at the higher end of the market, earning 20% more per booking than comparable properties in her area.

Karen has combined her corporate coaching background, her qualification as a home staging stylist, her experience working for a self-catering company and her years of knowledge as a holiday home owner to create her business and help other owners.

For more information about Karen and her business please visit – www.thebusinessofholidayrental.com

 

Other speakers include:

  • Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland
  • Brian Wright, FBD Consultancy (Scotland) Ltd – Business Growth Specialists & Chartered Accountants
  • Keith McDevitt, Cyber Resilience Integrator, Defence, Security and Cyber Resilience Division, Safer Communities Directorate, Scottish Government

More information to follow.

*Programme, Speakers and Panel subject to change

Working with leading industry partners
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