Paul Heathcote MBE steps down as Marketing Lancashire chairman
Renowned restaurateur and proud Lancastrian Paul Heathcote MBE, is stepping down from his role as chairman after three 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 three million visitors, and the visitor economy pump an additional £250m 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.Paul 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 three years ago.
"I have always been a vocal supporter of Lancashire and I will continue to be an advocate for this wonderful county.”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.
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.”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.