John Thurso, The Rt Hon. the Viscount Thurso, Chair of VisitScotland, will deliver this year’s Charles Kennedy Memorial Lecture, in partnership with HWEnergy, a major event of Lochaber Chamber of Commerce’s Lochaber Ideas Week 2017 (#ideasweek2017) programme, at 5.30pm on Friday 17 November 2017 at Lochaber High School, Fort William.
Lochaber Ideas Week – 13 – 17 November 2017, now in its fourth successful year, celebrates business, education and community through a gathering of exceptional talks, workshops, competitions, discussion and networking opportunities. It is designed to enhance Fort William and Lochaber, The Outdoor Capital of the UK, as a fantastic place in which to live, work and visit.
Lord Thurso (John Archibald Sinclair or Thurso) has been involved in hospitality all his working life with an distinguished career working in the luxury tourism industry. He became Europe’s youngest 5-star hotel manager when appointed Managing Director of the Savoy Group’s Lancaster Hotel in Paris at 27. Five years later he became founder General Manager for Blakeney Hotels of Cliveden, and then he became Chief Executive of Granfel Holdings – a small company with three hotels. From 1995 to 2001, he was CEO of Fitness & Leisure Holdings whose main asset was Champneys Health Spa.
He was appointed as the new Chair of VisitScotland, scotland’s tourism agency, in 2016. The appointment of a Chair who lives on the country’s north coast has been widely welcomed by rural communities. There is a perception that through ‘living on the edge’ he will better understand the challenges faced by tourism businesses that are operating outwith the busy central belt.
John Thurso sat in the House of Lords between 1995 and 1999 and from 2001 to 2015 he was the Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross. Throughout his political career he has been a keen campaigner on rural issues taking a particular interest in those which affect his native Scotland; from tax cuts for nearly 100,000 Highlanders to developing the proposal for a fairer fuel scheme for the most remote and rural areas. He returned to the House of Lords through a hereditary peers bye-election in 2016.
Chris O’Brien, Lochaber’s Destination Manager at Lochaber Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are delighted that Lord Thurso has agreed to deliver the esteemed Charles Kennedy Memorial Lecture, one of the highlights of Lochaber Ideas Week. He follows in the footsteps of Lord Wallace  and the First Minister . With his breadth and depth of experience; in particular his knowledge and understanding of the hospitality and tourism industries, together with his numerous high profile and esteemed roles in the world of politics and business, he will undoubtedly give us an entertaining and impassioned speech.”
The sponsor of the 2017 Charles Kennedy Memorial Lecture is HWEnergy. HWEnergy is one of the longest established biomass heating companies in the UK. Providing a complete turnkey approach to delivering commercial biomass heating and CHP solutions. They have a long track record in the design, installation and ongoing service of biomass heating systems.
Ideas Week 2017 is sponsored by Nevis Range, hosted by The Moorings Hotel and powered by No Fuss Events. To find out what else is going on during Lochaber Ideas Week 2017 go to: http://www.lochaberchamber.co.uk/events/
For tickets for The Charles Kennedy Memorial Lecture 2017 go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lochaber-ideas-week-2017-charles-kennedy-memorial-lecture-tickets-34074771559?aff=es2
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Notes to Editors:
Lochaber Ideas Week – 13 – 17 November 2017
Ultimately, Lochaber Ideas Week is a catalyst to stimulate fresh initiatives and ventures, creating new connections and points of collaboration designed to enhance Fort William and Lochaber, The Outdoor Capital of the UK, as a fantastic place in which to live, work and visit. Lochaber Ideas Week 2017 is sponsored by Nevis Range, hosted by The Moorings Hotel and powered by No Fuss Events!
John Archibald Thurso – The Rt Hon. the Viscount Thurso
Lord Thurso has been involved in hospitality all his working life. He became Europe’s youngest 5-star hotel manager when appointed Managing Director of the Savoy Group’s Lancaster Hotel in Paris at 27. Five years later he became founder General Manager for Blakeney Hotels of Cliveden, and then he became Chief Executive of Granfel Holdings – a small company with three hotels. From 1995 to 2001, he was CEO of Fitness & Leisure Holdings whose main asset was Champneys Health Spa.
John has served as a non-executive on a number of public company boards including The Savoy PLC, Millenium and Copthorne PLC and Walker Greenbank PLC. He is also Chairman of his family company in Caithness and for many years owned The Ulbster Arms in Halkirk. He was Grand Master of the Keepers of the Quaich of which he remains a patron and currently he is Chair of the International Wine & Spirit Competition, a trustee of the Castle of Mey Trust and a board member of IPSA.
Having inherited his title on the death of his father in 1995, he sat in the House of Lords until 1999 and from 2001 to 2015 was MP for Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross. He served on the Treasury Select Committee and was a member of the Parliamentary Banking Standards Commission as well as being a Commissioner of the House of Commons and Chair of the House Finance Committee. He was awarded a “Catey” for services to Tourism 2003, was made an honorary DBA by Oxford Brookes in 2004 and is a Master Innholder and a Fellow of The Institute of Hospitality. He is President of the Tourism Society. In 2014, he was made a Privy Councillor by The Queen.