Tourism boss goes from serving royals to MBE

·2-min read

Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) chief executive Marc Crothall has said he is “humbled” to have been made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

Mr Crothall was told of the honour in late April, keeping the news to a select group.

Recognised for services to the tourism industry, the 59-year-old has been in the field since he started peeling potatoes at the famed La Sorbonne restaurant in Oxford at the age of 17.

His career has also put him in close proximity to the royal family on numerous occasions.

“When you get a letter in telling you you’ve been recognised for something in this way, it’s a big shock,” he told the PA news agency.

He added he was “very humbled, to say the least”.

Mr Crothall said he was alerted to the honour through a letter from the Cabinet Office at the end of April, which also said he would have to “be patient” and wait for the ceremony where he can receive his medal.

“This is not just for me, I’ve spent 25 years working in Scotland and 40 years working in the industry… I come from an operational background where I’ve literally worked my way up from the kitchen floor peeling potatoes in a restaurant then coming through management,” he said.

“It’s really nice that our industry is also recognised in this way – I see it as not just for me but as a recognition of the sector as well,” he added.

Mr Crothall led the STA through the pandemic, when many tourism and hospitality businesses were shuttered as a result of restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the virus and was appointed to Scottish Government advisory groups.

When asked if he believed the recognition stems from his work during the pandemic, he simply said he was “doing my job”, adding: “I’d like to think this award is as much a recognition of the last two years but also, in a broader sense, of my contribution to the industry over the last ten years.”

He insisted that, while he is the one “in the face of ministers”, the tourism industry worked “as a collective” during the pandemic to survive.

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