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Caledonian MacBrayne to run second annual Travel and Tourism Conference in Oban


Broadcaster and The Independent's Senior Travel Editor Simon Calder is keynote speaker along with Scottish Tourism Alliance's Chief Executive Marc Crothall

More than 100 key tourism professionals will attend Caledonian MacBrayne's second Travel and Tourism Conference at Oban's Phoenix Cinema

CalMac awarded best ferry operator from an international field at the inaugural Independent Travel Awards

Launched last year for Homecoming 2014, Caledonian MacBrayne's Travel and Tourism Conference is returning to Oban next week.

To be held at the town's Phoenix Cinema on October 13, the conference will build on the resounding success of 2014's inaugural event and bring together more than 100 key industry professionals and a range of top speakers.

Speakers will include The Independent's Senior Travel Editor and broadcaster Simon Calder - a familiar face on the sofa of BBC Breakfast and famous as the 'man who pays his way' - and the Scottish Tourism Alliance's Chief Executive Marc Crothall.

Simon Calder

They are joined by Fiona Richmond from Scotland Food and Drink, Visit Scotland Marketing Director Charlie Smith and The Leith Agency Insight Planner Michael Higgins, amongst others.

CalMac is in a unique position as a tourism enabler for Scotland's west coast, working with other tourism partners at national and local destination level to support and promote tourism across the west coast. The company has just won best ferry operator at the inaugural Independent Travel Awards against global competition - part in recognition of the work it has done and continues to do within the tourism field.

From stocking a wide range of local products on board the ships through to providing customised deals to island attractions, from promoting the west coast destinations to a younger audience via its interaction with a range of festivals to gaining VisitScotland's Taste our Best accreditation - all are CalMac commitments to tourism and the communities which depend on it.

It is the only tourism conference of its kind which concentrates on Scotland's west coast opportunities by bringing together some of the biggest industry players and transport providers from across Scotland and, indeed, beyond.

The conference will also hear from CalMac's Managing Director, Martin Dorchester, as well as the company's Head of Commercial Graeme MacFarlan, UK Tourism Development Manager Maggie Maguire, Marketing Manager Peter Griffiths and Commercial Director Jocelyn McConnachie.

"Our ships carry excited visitors and regular commuters all around the west coast," said Martin Dorchester. "We're proud to promote our stunning area and to work closely with key partners across our network destinations as well as across Scotland and beyond and to play our part in creating a memorable and enjoyable experience for the visitor.

"We are proud to bring together such a wealth of knowledge and expertise for a day of sharing and collaboration and looking forward."

Caledonian MacBrayne is the operator of the UK's largest ferry network. In 2014 alone it carried 4.65 million people, 1.1 million cars, 92,000 commercial vehicles and 11,000 coaches across its 200-mile long network straddling Scotland's west coast.

The routes traverse some of Europe's most breath-taking and challenging stretches of water to provide lifeline services to remote communities on islands and mainland destinations.

In an independent economic report compiled this year by leading think tank The Fraser of Allander Institute, Caledonian MacBrayne, which employs some 1,400 staff, was found to contribute almost £270million turnover to Scotland as a whole - much of it within the sometimes fragile communities which it serves.

The same report found that CalMac enables 3,247 jobs in island tourism, representing £53.4million worth in wages. The company recently became the first UK ferry operator and first major transport operator in Scotland to sign up to gain Living Wage accreditation and it has also become a signatory to the Scottish Business Pledge.

MV Isle of Mull


Pictures show:

Simon Calder

CalMac's MV Isle of Mull sailing from Oban Bay

Notes to editors:

1) Further information about CalMac is available at

2) Caledonian MacBrayne and CalMac are trading names of CalMac Ferries Ltd (CFL). Caledonian MacBrayne , CalMac and the lion rampant device are registered trademarks of Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited (CMAL)and are used under licence by CalMac Ferries Ltd.

3) Simon Calder is Britain's leading travel commentator and is known as "the man who pays his way" which means that he pays for his own travel.  

He began his career at Gatwick airport, where he cleaned out planes for Sir Freddie Laker and, later, frisked passengers (for a job, that is; not a hobby).

He then started to write travel guidebooks and travel articles.  Today Simon is Senior Travel Editor of The  Independent.Simon also writes for the The Evening Standard, The Independent on Sunday, the i newpaper and High Life,BA's inflight magazine,as well as other publications. 

Simon is a regular guest on national TV, often seen on BBC Breakfast News, Good Morning Britain, CNN, ITV Newsand Sky News. Once a month, he presents the Global Guru slot on The Travel Show (BBC 2 and BBC Worldwide) where he answers viewers travel questions and queries.

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