Ex-holiday firm chief to lead tourist board

From left: Paul Heathcote (chairman) Ruth Connor (chief executive) and Lancashire county councillors Jim Lawrenson and Michael Green.
From left: Paul Heathcote (chairman) Ruth Connor (chief executive) and Lancashire county councillors Jim Lawrenson and Michael Green.

Tourism focussed businesses in the Lancaster district have a new champion.

Marketing Lancashire, the organisation created to promote the county as a great place to visit, work and invest, has announced the appointment of its first chief executive.

Ruth Connor, previously managing director of Shearings Holidays, is taking up the key role this month.

She will work alongside Paul Heathcote, who was recently appointed as chairman.

Ms Connor said: “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to lead Marketing Lancashire and look forward to working with colleagues and businesses, both within and outside the county, to make it a success.

“Lancashire is a fantastic place with a huge amount to offer visitors and investors, but it doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves.

“Marketing Lancashire is a new organisation with the task of harnessing that potential and I’m confident we will make a very positive impact over the years to come.”

Marketing Lancashire was created in April 2012, with principal funding from Lancashire County Council worth around £500,000 together with additional support from the public and private sector.

The new organisation succeeds Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board, which was backed by the former North West Development Agency.

County Coun Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “The county council has invested in Marketing Lancashire because we believe it can play an important part in the county’s future economic success.

“If Lancashire is confident and effective in the way it defines and promotes itself to visitors and potential investors, the benefits for local businesses, their employees and communities will be considerable.

“Ruth’s combination of skills and experience made her an outstanding candidate for the role and I’m delighted she has come to Lancashire.”

Prior to her role at Shearings, the Bolton mother of two was a director of Gold Medal Travel Group.

Her role in helping to turn around the business led to a takeover by Thomas Cook.