The Association of Independent Tour Operators has appointed Kate Kenward as its new executive director.

She takes over from Peter Burgess, who held the position on a temporary basis.

Kenward, a native of Perth in Western Australia, worked previously as an account director at publishing house Cedar Communications and was the UK PR representative for Anantara Resorts and Spas.

She also worked in the London office of Tourism Australia for 15 years on MICE business development and for 12 years as European communications manager.

She said: “I strongly feel that independent tour operators will have a greater role to play in the future of the travel industry as consumers become more and more selective about their holiday choices. The independent tour operator/customer relationship will continue to grow in importance as knowledge, security and value for money become key elements in consumers’ holiday considerations.”

AITO chairman Derek Moore added:  “In an ever-changing world, we need a dynamic, forward-thinking executive director who can galvanise the membership and lead AITO through the choppy waters we face. I would also like to thank Peter Burgess for his hard work and steady hand over the past few months while we conducted the search.”