Britannia chief on board for new role

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THE chief executive of The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust has been appointed to the board of Museums Galleries Scotland.

Since its formation in 1998, Bob Downie has been chief executive of The Royal Yacht Britannia Trust, the charitable company that now owns, maintains and operates the former royal yacht.

Mr Downie has been instrumental in helping the attraction gain a VisitScotland quality assurance score of 96 per cent and seen it officially recognised as being Scotland’s best visitor attraction for each of the last nine years.

It was also named by TripAdvisor as the UK’s number one attraction in 2014.

Douglas Connell, chairman of the Museums Galleries Scotland Board – the national development body for Scotland’s museums and galleries sector – said: “Bob is a great addition to our board, bringing with him a wealth of expertise and wisdom in tourism and enterprise. His particular success has been to combine the quality presentation of heritage with a successful and sustainable business model.

“Our board comes from across the heritage spectrum in Scotland and will be boosted by Bob’s appointment, as we continue our work in cherishing and championing the sector.”

In 2005, Mr Downie received the UK Hospitality & Tourism Catey Award in recognition of his commitment to improving quality standards, becoming only the second Scotsman to have received the industry ‘Oscar’. Previous winners include honorary Scots Peter Lederer and Hans Rissmann.

In 2012, he was vice chairman of the Scottish Tourism Leadership Group that developed the new tourism strategy for Scotland.

Prior to joining Britannia, he worked for 13 years for the Scottish Development Agency (SDA) and its successor, Scottish Enterprise.

The first nine years were in property management and urban regeneration roles, and for the last four years he was in charge of tourism for Edinburgh and the Lothians. In his tourism role, he was heavily involved in the regeneration of the Old Town and waterfront.

He also chaired the public sector’s involvement in the Tall Ships Race when it came to Edinburgh in 1995, and for three years he also chaired Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations.

Now aged 52, he is a former head boy of Oban High School and has a BA degree in public administration, and a MSc degree in urban development.

Whilst at school he captained the North of Scotland Schools Senior Rugby XV, and he also played representative rugby for Edinburgh District under-18s and Glasgow District under-21s.

Mr Downie said:“I am delighted to be joining an organisation that is dedicated to preserving and celebrating Scotland’s heritage, and look forward to helping improve its significant contribution to Scottish tourism.”