The man tasked with driving forward one of the world’s most iconic coastal touring routes paid tribute to Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) for helping to make it a success.
Tom Campbell, managing director of North Coast 500, gave GCU the nod during a keynote address at the University’s 2018 Moffat Lecture, ahead of the annual Moffat scholarship prizegiving ceremony.
Marketed as the ultimate trip around Scotland, North Coast 500 is now a global brand with an audience reach over 2.3billion. Its success has helped transform the local economy through increased visitor numbers.
Mr Campbell, who created and delivered the implementation plan for the route, spoke about the Moffat Centre’s role in conceiving the North Coast 500 and its further diversification, as well as GCU’s important role in growing Scotland’s tourism industry.
Located at GCU, the Moffat Centre is the UK's largest university-based consultancy and research centre for tourism and travel market research and business development.
Mr Campbell said: “The Moffat Centre was critical in the success of the North Coast 500 as it provided us with a proof of concept, to see if it was worth considering. They found it would be of global significance, which gave us the confidence to launch it.
“We’ve since been looking at various ways of adding depth to the North Coast 500, including rail, sailing and exploring the interior of the north Highlands. I’m convinced the Moffat Centre will play a key role in that, too.
“When we conceived the North Coast 500, we didn’t just think outside the box, we threw the box away. It’s a paradigm shift. I want to encourage those in the tourism sector to think differently and not just repeat the same old things again and again, achieving the same old results.
“GCU as a whole plays a vital role in the tourism sector with the programmes it runs and the talent it produces. Tourism is seen as a Cinderella sector, and yet it’s vitally important to Scotland’s economy and its reputation around the world.”
The Moffat Scholarships, which support students pursuing a career in the travel, tourism or events industries, were established in 1998 through generous funding from the Moffat Charitable Trust, set up by the late James H Moffat and his wife, Dr Margie Moffat OBE, the founders of AT Mays Travel Agent Chain.
The annual awards are open to GCU students who are studying travel, tourism or events-related courses.
Dr Jamie Moffat, the son of James H Moffat, plays an active role in the selection of Moffat Scholars and presented this year’s awards alongside Mr Campbell and Professor John Lennon, Director of the Moffat Centre.