Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland explains what he is most optimistic about when looking ahead to 2021 and beyond (this comment appeared in the 2021 edition of Who’s Who in Group Leisure. To access the digital edition click here.)

Floors Castle, Scotland

Source: VisitScotland/Paul Tomkins

Scotland has a wealth of fantastic attractions to visit, including Floors Castle.

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland

Malcolm Roughead.

Scotland values the UK coach market and group tours and we will continue to offer our full support to industry partners during the recovery of this vital part of our tourism industry.

While there are currently major challenges in relation to group numbers and coach travel due to the pandemic, we look to 2021 with hope of a better time for the sector.

Therefore, looking forward at what’s to come, Scotland will continue to celebrate the Year of Coasts and Waters in 2021. Our country boasts thousands of miles of varied coastline, including many islands. The diverse coastal scenery ranges from dramatic sea stacks to gleaming white beaches.

The lochs, rivers and canals also form an important part of the visitor experience with a huge variety of boat trips and cruises. The ways in which Scotland’s coasts and waters have shaped the country’s history can also be explored at a range of attractions. This includes an amazing choice of gin and whisky distilleries where clients can learn how Scotland uses its water to produce quality products.

This year will see the Great Tapestry of Scotland take up permanent residence in a new purpose-built visitor centre in Galashiels in the Scottish Borders. Visitors will be able to experience Scotland’s vibrant history through 160 hand stitched panels. This region is known for its textiles heritage and boasts other prominent visitor friendly experiences such as Lochcarron of Scotland in Selkirk, the world’s leading manufacturer of woven tartan.

The year will finally bring the reopening of the world-famous Burrell Collection in Glasgow’s Pollock Park. Consisting of more than 8,000 objects from Europe and Asia, the collection represents five millennia of art and history and includes work by major artists like Rodin, Degas and Cézanne.

As we navigate these unprecedented and uncertain times, we must follow the restrictions and guidance set by the Scottish Government.

Keep an eye on our industry website,, for Covid advice as we continue to update it with the latest Government guidelines to keep the industry informed.

Despite uncertainties, Scottish businesses are ready to welcome your clients when the time is right.