Area Visitor Services Manager

Organisation: Forestry and Land Scotland

Salary: £28,978 - £31,062 (pay review pending)

Location: 1x Newton Stewart and 1x Aberfoyle

Job reference: REQ0442

Contract type: Permanent

Working pattern: This is a full-time vacancy, based on a 37 hour week. This will include an element of weekend working as part of planned duty rota

We’re a flexible employer and encourage applicants who wish to work a flexible working pattern to apply – all requests will be considered.

Nationality requirements

It’s essential you have the right to work in the UK before applying to work with us, as we’re currently unable to offer sponsorship.

You’ll also need to meet the requirements of the Civil Service Nationality Rules.

Disability Confident Scheme

If you apply under the Disability Confident Scheme, you’ll be invited for interview/assessment, so long as you meet any elements of ‘Experience’ or ‘Technical’ marked as essential and can demonstrate the relevant Behaviours set out in the Success Profile.

About the team

Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is an agency of the Scottish Government and we manage Scotland’s Forests and Land on behalf of the Scottish Ministers and the people of Scotland.

We are a major provider of outdoor recreation opportunities across Scotland including a wide-ranging portfolio of visitor destinations including six Forest Parks. The work we do makes a significant contribution to the local and national visitor economy as well as ensuring our national forests deliver a wide range of social benefits.

The Visitor Services (VS) Team is responsible for the development and delivery of a high quality visitor experience across the forest estate. This includes; planning and managing recreation opportunities, engaging with visitors, facilitating events, facilitating education and learning, working with partners & tenants, dealing with enquiries and engaging with communities.

South Region

Our region is diverse and comprises Tweed Valley & Galloway Forest Parks, Galloway Dark Sky Park, all of the 7stanes Mountain Bike centres, the Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere and a land reclamation programme in the East Ayrshire coal area. It is an extremely busy and dynamic Region to live and work in.

Central Region

The region covers 92,000ha of forests, stretching from the Atlantic oak woodlands on Cowal in the West, across Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park to the recreational pinewoods of Fife, and includes lowland raised bogs and former coal sites within the southern central belt area. The VS team manage public access and safety across the geographically diverse holding including 112 managed trails 1 visitor centre and 40 urban woodlands that support the mental and physical wellbeing of over 2.6 million visitors annually.

What you will do

The Area Visitor Services Manager (AVSM) posts will be responsible for delegated sites across their region of deployment. Travel throughout the region and beyond will occasionally be required. Occasional overnight stays are likely to be necessary. Occasional weekend and evening work will be part of this role.

The key responsibility of the AVSM role is to plan, manage, develop and promote high quality, safe visitor experiences within your delegated area of Scotland’s national forests.

You will help ensure that the facilities are maintained to a high standard to achieve and maintain a high quality visitor experience, through the oversight of regular inspections and the management of the facility maintenance programme which you will lead on developing.

Much of the workload of the Visitor Service Team is about managing across teams. Your ability to communicate well, negotiate and organise yourself and others will be vital. Part of the role is to encourage new audiences to our sites across the forest estate, working with neighbours, groups and communities to enhance visitor experience.

The visitor service team is in a process of reintegrating with other parts of the organisation. This means that you will have to be comfortable building relationships in order to create and manage new and existing processes in collaboration with other teams locally and at a National level.

The role will include regular weekend working as part of a planned duty rota along with occasional evening and public holiday working.

South Region

The role will be based in the heart of Galloway managing a range of sites including; Kirroughtree, Glentrool, Clatteringshaws, Otterpool plus Raiders Road and Carrick Forest Drives. You will manage a small team and work in partnership FLS colleagues to ensure that visitors to the region have a high quality and safe experience. A key part of the role will include managing our tenant and leaseholder relationships.

Central Region

Working with a small team, you will manage a diverse range of sites. This includes Ardentinny, Puch’s Glen, Loch Ard along with sites on East Loch Lomond. You will work with colleagues to provide a high quality, 7 day, visitor experience, in a safe and cost effective way. You will also build working relationships with partners to develop and oversee visitor engagement and infrastructure projects.

Main duties

Visitor Facilities Management

Work with colleagues to provide a high quality visitor experience, in a safe and cost effective way:

  1. Specify and monitor routine safety checks for your sites; support colleagues as necessary to carry out these checks.
  2. Specify and monitor routine maintenance work for your sites; liaise with colleagues to support standards.
  3. Specify project work for your sites to maintain and develop high quality recreation facilities: create work plans as needed and work closely with delivery colleagues to get this work done.
  4. Directly manage buildings in your area as agreed with line manager.
  5. Work with the Regional Visitor Services Manager, Commercial Recreation Manager and Area Land Agent to manage recreation leases in your area.
  6. Work with other Area VS Managers to create a regional standard across all areas of delivery.
  7. Monitor expenditure and income throughout the year, flagging up issues to the regional Visitor Services Manager. Provide a quarterly report in advance of the business monitoring review.
  8. Facilitate recreation-related events via the permissions system, following FLS guidance.

Visitor Experience Planning

With support from the Regional Visitor Services Manager and national staff, use visitor experience planning to ensure your sites continue to improve and evolve, to effectively meet Scottish Government objectives and the needs of our target audiences:

  1. Complete an annual visitor experience planning exercise for each of your sites and review the trail portfolio analysis. Prioritise key sites to inform the business planning process.
  2. Monitor and act on visitor data for your destinations, through site counters, visitor studies, digital channels etc.
  3. Work with our landscape architects, civil engineers and delivery colleagues to specify, design and cost work needed.
  4. Assist the Regional Visitor Services Manager in building work programme for the South Region.
  5. Input proactively and positively to the Land Management Plan reviews and revisions, representing visitor services interests. Take responsibility for VS actions required. Attend meetings as needed and discuss issues with Regional Visitor Services Manager.
  6. Input proactively and positively to relevant sections of all Work Plans, representing visitor services interests. Attend meetings as needed and discuss issues with Regional Visitor Services Manager.

Staff Management

Lead your team in a positive and supportive way:

  1. Manage your local visitor services staff by agreeing clear responsibilities and work programmes, in line with regional and national priorities.
  2. Complete PMS reporting for staff and pass to confirming officer by end of September and April.
  3. Promote a high level of customer focus and high standards of delivery amongst staff.
  4. Monitor and support skills and knowledge development for staff, through coaching and access to training.
  5. Develop opportunities to utilise the support of volunteers and ensure effective management arrangements are in place.

Representation, Communication and Team Working

Represent FLS and the work of the Visitor Services team in a positive and professional way:

  1. Work positively and proactively with customers, stakeholders, communities, businesses and partners.
  2. Represent FLS at community, business, partner and stakeholder meetings.
  3. Deal promptly and helpfully with any enquiries and complaints.
  4. Deputise for the Regional Visitor Services Manager as required.
  5. Develop strong and positive relationships across the region and promote excellent internal communications.
  6. Support local and national web editors by providing timely and accurate updates as needed.
  7. Engage positively with regional duties e.g. fire duty.
  8. Contribute to building a culture of one team with regional and national staff.

Projects, Opportunities and Innovation

Look for opportunities to develop and improve what we do, and how we do it:

  1. Keep up to date with local, regional and national developments in tourism and recreation.
  2. In line with national strategy and regional plans seek out new ideas, opportunities and projects to develop the business within your area: revenue opportunities, partnerships and enhanced experiences.
  3. Develop ideas to improve our financial bottom-line.

Health & Safety, Wellbeing and Equality

Health & Safety, Wellbeing and Equality should be part of our normal working procedure and practice:

  1. Promote a safety-first culture in all aspects of the role: a safe and healthy environment for visitors and staff, in line with corporate standards and industry best practice.
  2. Use the lone worker safety system as appropriate.
  3. Report all accidents and near misses via the SHE Assure system.
  4. Check all VS site risk assessments and update as necessary.
  5. Ensure appropriate checks are being carried out, and appropriate records are being kept for your sites.
  6. Champion inclusive practice and consider equality issues in all visitor experience planning; seeking ways to ensure our visitor profile more closely matches the diverse make up of Scotland.
  7. Challenge outdated thinking to improve both the service delivered to our customers, and the efficiency of our business.
  8. Take responsibility for your own wellbeing, and seek support if needed.

Success Profile

The Success Profile below set outs the essential and desirable elements that make up the vacant position – you’ll be expected to demonstrate these element in your application and/or during your interview and/or assessment.



  • Experience of managing recreation/visitor facilities in a public facing setting within the countryside/recreation/tourism sector to a high standard.
  • Budget management experience.
  • An ability to communicate and work effectively with a wide range of people.
  • Experience of working with a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Staff management or supervisory experience.


  • Experience of partnership working with communities.
  • Contract/ project management experience.
  • Experience of managing a visitor centre or similar.
  • Experience of revenue generation/commercial activity.
  • Experience of managing Outdoor Access and working knowledge of Land Reform Scotland Act.
  • Experience of revenue generation/commercial activity.
  • Knowledge of countryside and land management, with a commitment to learn more.



  • Land based visitor services/tourism experience.
  • A full driving licence.
  • Competent in the use of IT and social media with a good working knowledge of Microsoft applications including Excel, Word and Outlook.


  • A degree or diploma in tourism, recreation management or equivalent.
  • Ability to use GIS or equivalent software, with a commitment to learn more.


On the application form you’ll find four free text boxes to provide your behaviour responses. Please note, you’re only required to provide evidence against the below behaviours on your application. This means that if less than four behaviours are noted, you can leave the relevant free text(s) box blank on your application.

Behaviour 1 and Lead Criteria: Managing a Quality Service

Behaviour 2: Communicating and Influencing

Behaviour 3: Working Together

Behaviour 4: Seeing the Big Picture


You will not be assessed against this at application stage. However, this will be assessed if you are successful for interview.

Driving licence

This role requires you to have a full UK driving licence, however, we are willing to consider any proposals that would allow you to do the job by other means.


As this role involves working with colleagues across the region/Scotland, there will be regular travel involved which may include overnight stays away from home.

Travelling at times may also involve visits to remote locations, therefore there is a requirement for you to have a current driving licence that enables you to drive in the UK. However, we are willing to consider any proposals put forward from candidates that would allow you to travel between locations by other means.

What we offer you

If successful, you will be entitled to a wide range of benefits.

Additional information

We believe it’s important to create an inclusive and supportive work culture, and we welcome applications from everyone, regardless of background.

It’s important you complete the entire application form (where relevant) in sufficient detail – this will give you the best chance of being invited for interview and/or assessment. Where a vacancy attracts a higher number of applications, only ‘Behaviour 1 – lead criteria’ will be assessed at sift stage. However, it is still important that you complete the entire application form in sufficient detail, as there is no way of knowing that a vacancy will have a high number of applications.

Concerns about our recruitment

If you believe the Civil Service Recruitment Principles have been breached, you can submit a complaint to the Head of People and Organisational Development – they will assess compliance with the Principles, but will not review the decision(s) of the recruitment panel.

Further information

If you have any questions about the recruitment process, or require any adjustments, please email

Application Deadline: Sunday 06/11/2022