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Chair Steps Down

Wednesday, 16th September 2015

Renowned restaurateur and proud Lancastrian Paul Heathcote MBE, is stepping down from his role as Chairman after three successful years at the helm of Lancashire’s place marketing organisation, Marketing Lancashire. 

Marketing Lancashire was created in 2012 with considerable investment from Lancashire County Council, replacing the former Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board and Paul Heathcote was the company’s first Chairman, announced on 9 May 2012. His initial task was to appoint a Chief Executive and in August that year, Ruth Connor was invited to join the fast-developing new company, charged with supporting the visitor economy and attracting investment into Lancashire. 

Over the last three years Paul has worked with the Board of Directors to support Ruth and her team at Marketing Lancashire, during which time he has seen visitor numbers to Lancashire reach current levels of 63 million a year, an increase of 3 million visitors, and the visitor economy pump an additional quarter of a billion pounds into the Lancashire economy; with the sector now recognised by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) as one of the county’s most significant areas of growth.   

In recent months Marketing Lancashire has consulted businesses across the county on issues relating to the visitor economy and to the areas of focus required to continue to grow the sector.  The resulting, soon to be announced, Visitor Economy Strategy for Lancashire will provide the county with a five year plan to attract 70 million visitors by 2020 and increase jobs by 5,000 to over 60,000.

Under Paul's tenure, membership of Marketing Lancashire has grown by 100% and the annual Lancashire Tourism Awards have also flourished, with last year’s celebration at The Blackpool Tower Ballroom the largest ever tourism industry awards in Lancashire, reflecting the quality, diversity and renewed pride in tourism across the county.

Speaking about Paul, Ruth Connor Chief Executive of Marketing Lancashire said

“Paul has presided over one of the most important periods in the development of Marketing Lancashire and has helped deliver tremendous results whilst building the foundation for both the organisation and also brand ‘Lancashire’ to prosper. 

“He has supported myself and the team with huge enthusiasm and brought with him his wealth of experience, his network of contacts and his understanding of the hospitality industry, for which we are genuinely grateful.  

“We wish Paul continuing success with his business ventures and thank him for being such a passionate ambassador for Lancashire.”

Commenting on his role Paul Heathcote MBE said

“It has been a privilege to chair the organisation and oversee the transformation in Marketing Lancashire.  There have been a number of achievements during my term that I am extremely proud of and I believe I am leaving the organisation in a much stronger position than it was 3 years ago. I have always been a vocal supporter of Lancashire and I will continue to be an advocate for this wonderful county.” 

Marketing Lancashire is currently leading on strategic marketing activity for the LEP, with a 12 month PR campaign and a county-wide consultation exercise to bring together the Lancashire economic narrative.  As the place marketing organisation for the county, Marketing Lancashire will drive the positioning and marketing of the Lancashire offer to potential investors, businesses and growth sectors, whilst supporting the effective marketing of Lancashire as one of the UK's best visitor destinations. 

A search for a new Chair representing Lancashire's wider core sector strengths is underway.

<<ENDS>>

For Media enquiries please contact:

Anna Izza, Head of PR and Communications   01772 426 459

Laura Crabb, PR and Communications Executive 01772 426 456

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For more information, practical advice and support, call Marketing Lancashire on:

01772 426450.