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Friday, 3 November, 2000, 17:14 GMT
Tourism report calls for name change
Tourist office
Accountants carried out a report into the board
A review of the Scottish Tourist Board has recommended a radical shake-up and a change of name to Visit Scotland.

It severely criticises the board's leadership, saying there is "confusion and ambiguity" among senior management.

The number of directors should be cut from seven to three.

The review, by PricewaterhouseCoopers, was ordered in July by the then Enteprise Minister Henry McLeish.

Its remit was to "assess the fit between the organisation's capabilities, its relationships with other organisations and the tasks which we require it to perform, taking into account any relevant information from abroad".

The new Tourism Minister, Wendy Alexander, welcomed its conclusions.

Wendy Alexander
Wendy Alexander: Welcomed report
She said it provided a "positive way forward that would demand wide-ranging change and build on strengths".

"I am very keen to see progress as quickly as possible on its far-reaching recommendations for change," added Ms Alexander.

She is scheduled to meet the board on 9 November to discuss the next steps.

The review was commissioned after the number of tourists from overseas fell by 11% last year.

The slump in overseas tourists came despite a growth in the world tourism industry of about 4% a year.

Visitors drop

The latest statistics for the 1999 season in Scotland showed a slight decline in overall spending.

The most worrying statistic was the sharp drop in overseas visitors, which wiped more than 100m from the Scottish economy.

It was feared that the absence of high-spending visitors from overseas could spell disaster for hundreds of guesthouses and bed and breakfasts.

Last month the board's chairman, Lord Gordon of Strathblane, accused the media of an hysterical reaction to the industry's decline.

He used his speech at the board's annual conference in Glasgow to call for an end to the wave of criticism that had beset the STB.

He said the board had been unfairly pilloried and it was unfair and stupid to pass judgement without taking into account the impact of crippling exchange rates.

Chief executive Tom Buncle also mounted a robust defence of the board's performance.

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See also:

10 Oct 00 | Scotland
Tourism chief hits back at critics
04 Oct 00 | Scotland
Tourist board facing revamp
07 Jul 00 | Scotland
Tourist trade takes a 'pounding'
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