It is over twenty years since I retired and returned to the South of England, passing responsibility for the Company to my son, Neil. I know from experience that managing an organisation with such a wide and varied range of accountabilities is no easy matter but, at no time did I have to deal with such demanding and stressful dilemmas as those presented by the Covid pandemic. To Neil’s great credit we have survived strong and unbowed, while many of our competitors have sadly fallen by the wayside. Our hotels have re-opened and bookings are strong although, if there is one thing we have learned during the past 18 months, it is not to attempt to predict the future course of events.
Throughout my retirement I have returned regularly to Scotland, not only to keep in touch with friends and family, but to pursue my hobby of photography amongst the beautiful landscapes in the Michael Wells OBE, Chairman country I have grown to love whilst, at the same time, adding photos and video clips to the Company image library. The above photograph was taken during one of the few visits that have been possible during the past year and it is of course a view of St Andrews, a perennial favourite destination with our guests.
There are very few positives that have emerged from this awful pandemic, but perhaps one is a growing appreciation of the attractions of our own nation and the increasing popularity of the ‘staycation’. I realise that this is largely a result of necessity, but I have no doubt that as people discover the beauty and history of their own country, the more they will want to see.
I recently took a commercial flight to Scotland and I have to say that it was a dismal affair, a far cry from the immaculate British Airways service of 20 years ago. However, as depressing as it was, it was nothing compared with the current horrors of international air travel, which in turn will, I am sure, add to the demand for quality domestic holidays.
For our part, we will continue to strive to make our programmes as varied, enjoyable and of course as safe as possible.
Finally, on behalf of our wonderful management team and our much valued staff of 200, I would like to say just how much we are looking forward to welcoming you back to Scotland some time soon.