Visit Inverness Loch Ness CEO steps down

Michael Golding

MICHAEL Golding is stepping down as CEO of Visit Inverness Loch Ness (VILN) to take up a new role as CEO of the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA).

Michael leaves VILN in its strongest position to date, having guided the organisation through a challenging time for the tourism industry.

Under Michael’s leadership, VILN has increased opt-in members by 43 per cent, doubled the size of its team, won national and international awards and become the UK’s first carbon neutral Business Improvement District since he took up the role in 2019.

From 2022 to 2023, VILN invested 3.21 times its levy income into the area, providing benefit to its membership of more than 400 tourism businesses and the destination as a whole. Additionally, the organisation has made strides in its action on climate change, producing and delivering its first Climate Action Plan in 2022-2023, followed by the launch of a second edition earlier this year.

During Michael’s leadership, he has been a voice of tourism in the Highlands and beyond. He chaired the Highland Tourism Partnership, joined the Scottish Tourism Alliance board, and became a member of the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Leadership Group. Michael was also named IoD (Institute of Directors) Scotland Sustainability Director of the Year 2023, Young People’s Choice for best speaker at a conference in Toulouse and was picked as a top speaker at the Scottish Tourism Industry Conference.

Michael will take up his new role as CEO of the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA), in which he will replace outgoing CEO Gordon Morrison, in the coming months. 

Commenting on the announcement, Michael Golding said: “It has been a privilege to lead Visit Inverness Loch Ness and represent the area where I grew up. It has truly been a pleasure to work with so many inspiring people in our local tourism industry. I leave with Visit Inverness Loch Ness in a strong position for a new CEO to take the organisation forward and ensure a bright future for our iconic destination.

“The Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions (ASVA) is a nationally significant organisation, and I will continue to represent businesses from the area. My aim now is to deliver the ASVA vision for Scottish attractions to deliver outstanding experiences for each and every visitor.”

Visit Inverness Loch Ness is now seeking its next CEO, who can lead the organisation through an inspiring new business plan and through its renewal ballot to 2029.

Jo De Sylva, Chair of VILN, added: “Michael has led VILN through the tourism industry’s most difficult time in recent history to its strongest position to date. This means that our new CEO can hit the ground running, building upon this momentum to take VILN and our region to even greater success. Michael will be greatly missed by us all, but we look forward to this exciting new chapter for VILN with a new CEO at the reigns.

“I’d like to thank Michael for his leadership, guidance and support, and for being an inspiration to us all at VILN and beyond. We wish him the very best for the future.” 

The position of CEO at Visit Inverness Loch Ness will open for applications during the week commencing 10th July 2023 on the Visit Inverness Loch Ness website:

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