Thompson succeeds Willie MacLeod in the role, taking on the position after leading VisitScotland’s policy agenda over the last eight years.
On his appointment, Thompson said: “I am very much looking forward to joining UKHospitality, spearheading its work in Scotland and building upon Willie’s success. From my work at VisitScotland, I know that this sector is an immensely diverse and exciting one.
“I am looking forward to meeting UKH’s members and fighting to ensure the governments in Holyrood and Westminster, and local authorities across Scotland work with us to get the best out of our businesses.”
Macleod said: “It has been a privilege and pleasure to champion Scotland’s fantastic hospitality sector for ten years during very challenging times – especially now as the industry is on the verge of re-opening and recovering from the ravages of Covid-19.
“This is a vigorous, hardworking and resilient sector that shows the best of Scottish ingenuity and generosity. It has evolved hugely in the time that I have been promoting its interests and we can proudly say it is genuinely world class.”
Kate Nicholls, UKH’s chief executive, said: “I am delighted to welcome Leon to UKHospitality. Leon brings many years’ worth of expertise and a huge amount of political acumen working with policy-makers in Scotland.
“He knows the sector inside out and has done brilliant work in positioning Scotland as a world-class tourist destination. I know he will be unstinting in his efforts to ensure we remain the number one advocate of hospitality in Scotland.”