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ASSC Conference Speakers 2018

Willie 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!!!!!!

Twitter: @mrlochness27


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.


Twitter: @ASSCnews


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 15 years, she is proud to be a part of the critical role that the organisation plays in supporting self-catering in Scotland.


Twitter:  @ASSCnews


Geoff Ramm

Speaker & Author,

Creator of Celebrity Service and OMG Marketing

Like you, Geoff Ramm, the creator and author of Celebrity Service knows great customer service leads to lucrative, repeat business.  So how do you create a customer experience that has you talked about for decades to come? Geoff knows the Jedi Mind Trick to make you craved by your customers, envied by your competitors and raved about in your industry.   He’s challenged and inspired audiences across 41 countries to create award winning ideas to outperform the competition. His clients include; Emirates, Specsavers, IHG, Xerox and Finnair.


Twitter:  @geofframm


Linda Battison

Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers

Details to follow….


Chris Greenwood

Senior Tourism Insight Manager, VisitScotland

Details to follow….

Alistair Handyside

Professional Association of Self-Caterers

Details to follow….


Martin Sach

English Association of Self-Catering Operators

Details to follow….


Peter Downey

Chair, Irish Self Catering Federation 

Details to follow….


To Be Confirmed 

Wales Association of Self-Catering Operators

Details to follow….


To Be Confirmed

Short-Term Accommodation Association 

Details to follow….


Stephen Whitelaw

Digital Marketing Consultant 

Details to follow…..



Julie Grieve

Founder & CEO, Criton Apps

Details to follow…..



Xavier Font

Professor of Sustainability Marketing, University of Surrey

Dr Xavier Font is professor of sustainability marketing at the University of Surrey. He has specialised in helping small tourism and hospitality firms on how to market and communicate their sustainability actions, and how to develop more customer-relevant sustainable tourism products. He has run over 130 workshops for more than 2500 businesses on sustainability marketing, across several countries. He has worked for four United Nations agencies, several tourist boards and international travel associations and businesses.


Twitter:  @xavierfont


Mark Beaumont

Athlete & Broadcaster, Representing Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers 

Mark Beaumont has become a household name in Scotland through his documentaries about ultra endurance and adventure. Having smashed the circumnavigation cycling World Record twice in his career, he now holds this 18,000 mile title in a time of 78 days and 14 hours, averaging 240 miles a day. His epic documentaries have taken viewers to over 100 countries, into the Arctic, the high mountains and around the Commonwealth, also surviving capsize in the mid-Atlantic. Closer to home, Mark has been involved a series of projects to showcase destinations and tourism across Scotland, including the North Coast 500, Wild About Argyll, the Hebridean Way and cycle routes in Perthshire, Fife, the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.


Twitter:  @MrMarkBeaumont


More information to follow.

*Programme, Speakers and Panel subject to change



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