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David Nisbet reports
"He knows he has a big task on his hands."
 real 56k

Philip Riddle, visitscotland
"We've got a great product but we've got a lot of work to do"
 real 28k

Monday, 16 July, 2001, 13:14 GMT 14:14 UK
Tourist body appoints new chief
Peter Lederer (left) and Philip Riddle
Visitscotland chairman Peter Lederer with Mr Riddle
Philip Riddle has been named as the new chief executive of Scotland's troubled tourist organisation.

Mr Riddle's appointment as head of visitscotland follows controversy over the previous would-be incumbent Rod Lynch, whose job offer was withdrawn.

The 49-year-old former Shell employee joins visitscotland amid continuing attempts to resurrect the fortunes of Scotland's tourist trade.

Tourist with camera
Visitor numbers have been falling
Visitor numbers have been falling and the trade was dealt a further blow by this year's foot-and-mouth crisis which restricted access to the countryside.

However, Mr Riddle, who is married with three children and has worked with Shell for most of his career to date, said he was undaunted by the task ahead.

He said: "I relish the challenge of helping to get the industry back on its feet. There is no underestimating the value of tourism as an integral part of the Scottish economy."

Mr Riddle, who was born in Dunfermline and now lives in Edinburgh, added: "The industry's recovery is under way with many projects being rolled out but more needs to be done.

"There is a need to galvanise the industry and breathe new vitality into the way tourism performs."

Rod Lynch
Rod Lynch: Job offer withdrawn
Visitscotland will be hoping that Mr Riddle's appointment draws a line under its management troubles.

It was announced in April that Mr Lynch had been offered the 145,000-a-year post, following the departure of embattled former chief executive Tom Buncle.

However, the media conference where Mr Lynch was introduced was a disaster.

Visitscotland faced severe criticism when Mr Lynch revealed that he intended taking a holiday in the US before taking up the post.

This was leapt upon by some politicians and sections of the media who voiced anger that he should be holidaying abroad at a time when the focus should have been on his own country, which was suffering a visitor downturn due to foot-and-mouth.

Conflict of interest

It later emerged that Mr Lynch intended to continue spending one month a year working for an air freight company.

Visitscotland was accused of endorsing someone with a conflict of interest and, five days after the initial announcement, the organisation said it had withdrawn its job offer.

The announcement of Mr Riddle's appointment was in contrast to arrangements for Mr Lynch's presentation to the media.

A media conference was held for Mr Lynch and his arrival was heralded by members of the Scottish Executive, including Enterprise Minister Wendy Alexander, who came under fire when the appointment fell through.

Tourist information sign
Foot-and-mouth has caused problems
There was no media conference for Mr Riddle - visitscotland instead choosing only to put out a press release.

Scottish National Party enterprise spokesman Kenny MacAskill MSP said Mr Riddle had a difficult job ahead of him.

He said: "It is time visitscotland move from being tourism police to a marketing body.

"Scotland is a beautiful country with many assets to sell to people both at home and abroad, and those advantages must be used to full effect."

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