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Wollens are delighted that chief executive Chris Hart is continuing his work and role in the tourism sector  working with the English Riviera BID team to make the English Riviera the premier resort in the UK. Chris has been elected as the new chair of the English Riviera BID Company, which is responsible for leading on Destination Marketing and driving forwards the Bay’s £550 million-a-year Visitor Economy. Chris who is the former chair of the English Riviera Tourism Company officially took over in the chair at the new board’s first meeting.

He said: “I’m honoured to have been asked by the Board to be their Chair. The English Riviera BID has already demonstrated the value and strength of the cohesive approach to properly funded Destination Marketing, but we all have ongoing and developing challenges to tackle, and we are committed to supporting the sector in the most effective way”.

The new vice-chairman will be Anthony Payne-Neale. Anthony is a chartered marketeer. He owns the Court Prior Boutique B&B and is chair of the ERBID Accommodation focus group representing accommodation businesses from across the resort.

Chris Hart, Wollens Chief Executive and Chair of the English Riviera BID Company.

Both Chris, well-known in  legal and business circles, and Mr Payne-Neale were officially appointed to the Board as non-executive directors at the ERBID Board meeting. So, too, were Tim Godfrey – Bishop Fleming, Richard Cuming – Bygones, Andy Banner-Price – The 25 Boutique B&B, Pippa Craddock – Business and Marketing Solutions, Claire Flower – Beverley Holidays, Martin Brook – Pilgrims Rest Cottages, Kevin Mowat – Torbay Council, Jim Parker – Torbay Weekly and chair of the Torbay Place Leadership Board, Kelly Widley – Food and Drink Marketing Specialist and Jason Garside – Torquay Leisure Hotels.

The company is celebrating one part of its business a million times over. That’s how many visits there were last year to the official English Riviera website, operated by the ERBID.

The company represents over 1,300 tourism businesses in the resort as part of their management of the English Riviera Business Improvement District, which was given backing by levy payers for a second five-year term of office after an official ballot in 2021.

Each eligible business pays an annual levy to finance the company, in return for which they get additional exposure on its website and benefit directly from a variety of professionally coordinated marketing initiatives locally, nationally and internationally.

Marketing results from last year were presented to its latest board meeting by Carolyn Custerson, chief executive of the ERBID.

Mrs Custerson reflected on a another ‘challenging’ year in 2022 but revealed there had been some notable milestones and successes post COVID.

She reported: “2022 marketing results were strong despite all the economic challenges, as the interest in staycations continued and the official English Riviera branding was viewed 38 million times during 2022, resulting in many new visitors.’’

She revealed that the English Riviera Visitor Information Centre had also been short listed in the Devon Tourism Awards after helping over 50,000 visitors in 2022.

Mrs Custerson said there will be further challenges ahead and the Board were listening carefully to Levy Payers’ concerns, continually reviewing Destination Marketing activity and how the company can support the hospitality sector.

The Board’s focus in now very much on the 2023 season ahead with a new national marketing campaign titled ‘Ready for the Riviera’ starting in February.