In preparing this article, it is hard to believe that I have been involved in English tourism, whether at the national and/or regional level for the past 16 years. I first joined the former English Tourism Council at the time of the Foot and Mouth Crisis in 2001, saw its merger with the British Tourist Authority when VisitBritain was created in 2003, was with East Midlands Development Agency for seven years before returning to Visit England in 2012. It is certainly true that there have been many changes to England’s tourism structures over these years against the backdrop of constant technological change and further globalisation affecting the industry.
My current role is as Programme Manager in the Project Management Office at VisitBritain/Visit England where I am responsible for the management of the Discover England Fund. This £40 million product development fund, announced by DCMS in 2015, seeks to ensure that England stays competitive in the rapidly growing global tourism industry by offering world-class tourism products to the right customers at the right time.
I joined the Board as Visit England’s nominated Trustee in May 2015 and have completed the learning modules within the Trustee Toolkit which is a requirement set by the Pensions Regulator. There was much to learn in terms of how pension schemes are managed from an economic, investment and regulatory perspective. Ours is no exception, with the statutory triennial valuation review under way which requires a great deal of technical understanding to ensure that the best outcome is achieved for members.
Outside of the office at weekends, I am a keen runner and windsurfer, enjoying the great outdoors in one of England’s best kept secrets – that is Rutland.