Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of Visit Scotland, said around the world tourists know little of the city, or Scotland, compared to other big international destinations.
He said they know about London, as a global city, but others destinations, such as Glasgow, can attract those visitors while they are in the UK.
And he said that with the Games being held here it is an ideal opportunity to spread the message about the city.
He said: "Much depends on overcoming perceptions.
"Internationally people know little about the UK except London. There is work to be done on building awareness.
"It takes time and money to change perceptions, but next year we have got the world's media in Glasgow and roaming around the country."
He said there would be 600 journalists from around the world ready to tell a story about the city.
Most visitors who come through London come into the UK via Heathrow but he said capacity issues needn't be an issue with routes available through other European hub airport cities such as Istanbul, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.
Mr Roughead was speaking to business leaders at the Glasgow Talks series hosted by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce.
He said: "There is a confidence and it is growing. There is now a belief we can deliver these things.
"Look at the demand for Commonwealth Games tickets, it has been phenomenal. Glasgow is showing the world what it can do."
He mentioned the legacy projects the tourism industry is involved in to ensure there is a lasting increase in business as a result of the games and ensuring the city and Scotland is ready and able to accommodate more visitors.
He added: "There is £7bn not spent because people are not aware how to get accommodation they require across the UK. That's £7bn that is going elsewhere."
Mr Roughead said the Games presented a chance for Glasgow to reposition itself on the world stage.
But he said issues like accessibility need to be resolved.
He added: "If people can't get here or get around the country easily, they will go somewhere else."
Heathrow Airport being full was an issue in flights onwards to Scotland and he said BMI pulling out of Scotland had an international impact, with Air Canada, he said, reporting a loss of 40,000 customers to Scotland.
Stuart Patrick, chief Executive of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce said: "Next year is huge opportunity to get out the message that we have been honing for the last 10 years.
"The Commonwealth Games is an opportunity to break through in the leisure market."