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Top Edinburgh hotelier and respected Scottish hospitality, tourism and event management educationalist elected to lead the Scotland Branch of the Institute of Hospitality

Top Edinburgh hotelier and respected Scottish hospitality, tourism and event management educationalist elected to lead the Scotland Branch of the Institute of Hospitality

June 2021

Andrew Thomson MA MIH, Head of Hospitality, Events & Fingal, Edinburgh, has been elected Chairman of the Scotland Branch of the Institute of Hospitality (IoH), the leading international professional body for current and aspiring managers in the hospitality industry. Thomson runs the Royal Yacht Britannia’s Hospitality & Events team and their luxury 23-cabin floating boutique hotel, Fingal, berthed on the Scottish capital’s Leith waterfront.

At last week’s IoH Scotland Branch Annual General Meeting (AGM), Thomson formally took over the Chairmanship from Gordon Mackintosh MIH, General Manager of the Carnoustie Golf Hotel & Spa, on the Angus coast near Dundee.

One of Scotland’s most respected hospitality, tourism and event management educationalists Ken Alexander – a member of the organising committee for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and a lecturer at both City of Glasgow College and Ayrshire College – was elected to the newly created position of Vice-Chairman of the IoH Scotland Branch.

Commenting on his election as Chairman, Andrew Thomson said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been elected Chairman of the Institute of Hospitality Scotland Branch. As Scotland’s hospitality industry recovers from the unprecedented challenges of the COVID pandemic, membership of our worldwide professional body is more important than ever. The Institute’s priority is to nurture future and existing talent in the industry through promoting lifelong learning and inspiring hospitality professionals to perform at their very best. Its membership grades are an industry recognised acknowledgement of each individual member’s qualifications and professional experience. As such, they are an invaluable benchmark for future employment.

“With the job market opening-up again, there has never been a better time for Scotland’s hospitality managers and aspiring managers to increase their skills and knowledge through the many benefits afforded by membership, at both national and branch level. These range from conferences, webinars, and educational and social networking events, to online learning courses and awards.

“The hospitality industry is a people’s industry and having fun is also a key aspect of IoH branch life. We have just finalised two such events: a one-day golf tournament on Friday, 17 September at the Auchterarder Golf Club, Perthshire; and for food and drink lovers, a Scotland Branch Burns Night Supper, hosted by the luxury 4-star Maryculter House in Aberdeen, on Friday, 21 January 2022. I look forward to meeting new Institute of Hospitality Scotland members at these events and at our other activities over the coming months.

“I am very excited about continuing and building upon the excellent work of my predecessor Gordon Mackintosh, whom I’m pleased is remaining a member of the Scotland Branch committee. We owe him an enormous debt of gratitude for his inspirational leadership at such a difficult time for our profession.”

Commenting on his election as IoH Scotland Branch Vice-Chairman, Ken Alexander said: It is a great privilege and honour to have been elected Vice-Chairman. I look forward to continue to forge links with the education sector and with all the different sectors that make up Scotland’s exciting hospitality industry, while ensuring that people development remains at the forefront of our profession.

“We urgently need a new cohort of talented hospitality, tourism and event management students as we rebuild our businesses in readiness for what promises to be a post-COVID boom for the industry, and because of a hard Brexit that has resulted in the departure of many EU staff.  Toward this end, I am delighted to report we are re-launching the IoH Scotland Branch’s popular ‘Quaich’ awards for Scotland’s top hospitality and tourism students.”


Pictured: Andrew Thomson, Chairman, Institute of Hospitality Scotland Branch

Pictured: Ken Alexander, Vice-Chairman, Institute of Hospitality Scotland Branch

For further information, contact:

May M Stark MIH

Branch Secretary

Institute of Hospitality Scotland Branch

Tel: +(0)7849 497939





Julian Demetriadi PhD FIH

Committee Member, Institute of Hospitality Scotland Branch, and Director, CommunicationsPoint

Tel: 01988 500 369

M:   07585 505309



Notes to Editors


Andrew Thomson MA MIH, Chairman, IoH Scotland Branch, and Head of Hospitality, Events & Fingal, Edinburgh

A management and history graduate of St Andrews University and Event Management Certificate holder from Edinburgh’s Napier University, Andrew Thomson was perfectly equipped in 2010 to join Scotland’s top tourist attraction, The Royal Yacht Britannia. 

Aboard Britannia, berthed on Edinburgh’s waterfront at Leith, Andrew is responsible for “a fantastic front- and back-of-house team overseeing the ship’s outstanding events business”. They not only look after the evening events, but also the stunning Royal Deck Tea Room.

In January 2019, Andrew took on the additional responsibility of overseeing the opening of Britannia’s own luxury floating hotel: converted lighthouse tender, Fingal. The 23-cabin boutique hotel, owned by Royal Yacht Enterprises, is permanently berthed just a few minutes’ walk from Britannia. Fingal has proved a tremendous success; already it has won awards and has been Edinburgh’s number one hotel on Trip Advisor. Andrew believes in only the best for his customers on The Royal Yacht and at Fingal; he’s not happy unless guests have been delighted by their experience.

For over two decades, Andrew has been working at the very top of Scotland’s luxury hospitality market. Prior to joining the Royal Yacht, Andrew gained invaluable sales and event management experience at The Gleneagles Hotel. It couldn’t have been a more prestigious or perfect workplace for a man like Andrew, who also loves his golf!

A proud member of the IoH, Andrew says it is an enormous privilege to be the new Chairman of the IoH Scotland Branch Committee.

Ken Alexander, Vice-Chairman, IoH Scotland Branch, and Hospitality and Event Management Lecturer

Ken Alexander’s long and illustrious career demonstrates the unique flexibility and choices afforded by a career in the hospitality profession.

On leaving Glasgow College of Food Technology (now City of Glasgow College) armed with an HND in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management, Ken began his career in Orlando, Florida, working in the number one holiday destination in the world, Walt Disney World.

On returning to Scotland, he spent a short time in the hotel sector before joining the airport passenger catering division of Trust House Forte. From there, he moved into retail catering with a company formed by the entrepreneur Sir John Hall, who built the successful Metro Centre shopping complex in the North East of England.

Following this, Ken joined leading UK foodservice provider Eurest, part of the Compass Group global network. Here, he spent 15 years working as a General Manager then as an Operations Manager, responsible for an eclectic mix of contracts across various business sectors. During this time, he was awarded Cost Sector Catering magazine’s ‘Unit Manager of the Year’.

A change of direction followed in 2011: Ken entered the world of further education as a lecturer at his alma mater, Glasgow College of Food Technology, now known as City of Glasgow College.

In 2014, Ken was afforded the opportunity to work on the organising committee for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Working on Scotland’s largest ever sporting event provided a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for Ken, a Glaswegian, to work on his ‘home’ games.  

In addition to working full-time in the ever-expanding further education sector, Ken has also spent the last four years acting as Convenor for the Board of Managers at his children’s school, Jordanhill in Glasgow.   

Joining the Institute of Hospitality Scottish Branch committee and being elected the new Vice-Chairman gives Ken an opportunity to continue to forge links with education and different sectors of Scotland’s exciting hospitality industry, while ensuring that people development remains at the forefront of all the profession’s missions.

About the Institute of Hospitality 

The Institute of Hospitality (IoH) is the leading international professional body for hospitality. Established in 1938, the IoH aims to promote professionalism through lifelong learning and the development of outstanding leaders. The institute promotes high standards and quality in hospitality management education and training through its accreditation and endorsement schemes. Corporate, academic, and individual members benefit from access to professional development programmes including live webinars, publications, access to learning resources, events, and other networking opportunities. Students and educators benefit from IoH support for academic careers, and its work to provide context to the curriculum.

The IoH has established internationally recognised professional credentials (Fellow, Member, Associate and Affiliate) for its members. It is currently working towards chartered institute status.

The IoH has regional branches throughout the UK and in several areas of the globe including Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.


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