Scotland's deputy first minister Jim Wallace MSP this week appointed the country's first Scotch Whisky Tourism Development Manager.

The appointment of Chris Conway was made at a launch ceremony held at the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre in Edinburgh's Royal Mile. His appointment has been driven by the private sector, namely the Scotch Whisky Association and the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, and is being supported by Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and VisitScotland.

Conway will be responsible for the goals of the privately led Scotch Whisky Tourism Initiative which is looking to utilise Scotch whisky's global reputation to promote Scotland as a quality destination for leisure.

He is apparently already looking at the possibility of setting up a network of whisky embassies. These could be establishments such as hotels, restaurants or shops where staff would have excellent knowledge about whisky but, at the same time, play a crucial role in promoting tourism.

Wallace said: "The work between tourism and whisky is to be applauded - two great Scottish industries joining forces for the benefit of Scotland.

"The focus of this scheme will be on innovation - the challenge is for tourism and whisky companies to think creatively about how they can meet the needs of visitors, and offer them high quality, memorable experiences.

"The work also highlights positive co-operation between the public and private sector, with Executive agencies playing a prominent role in helping boost Scottish tourism."

Conway said: "I am delighted to lead this initiative. It is a completely unique opportunity and I am sure it will be a great experience. It offers an exceptional insight into two of Scotland's leading industries and the opportunity to work with them closely to the mutual benefit of both."

He continued: "The initiative will explore all the ways tourists experience whisky in Scotland and look at methods of increasing knowledge and appreciation within the tourism industry.

"Key to its success is the need to quickly engage both industries and assimilate their experiences and learnings. I've already had discussions with a number of Scottish hoteliers and I am confident we will be able to realise mutual benefits with obvious commercial advantages."