Universal Parks and Resorts has appointed Alison Nicholls in a business development role as it looks to increase UK visitor numbers to its Hollywood park.

Nicholls is currently corporate relationship manager at British Airways, and was previously business development manager for tourist boards, hotel groups and partnerships for the airline.

She starts her new role as business development manager for Universal in June.

The move comes as Universal Studios Hollywood unveiled its new attraction, Transformers: The Ride 3D, to delegates attending the Pow Wow conference.

Thomas See, vice president of sales for Universal Studios Hollywood, said Nicholls’s appointment reflected a renewed focus on the UK market.

“We have seen an upturn in the UK market and Ali’s job will be to work with the travel trade in the UK and Europe to ensure we are doing everything to promote (Universal Studios) Hollywood to people visiting California,” he said.

“She will be assisting the UK sales team with promotions geared to Universal Studios Hollywood, and her appointment reflects how important the UK market is to us.”

He added: “We are very bullish as we unveil Transformers 3D, and with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter also coming to Hollywood we feel there is real scope for growth from the UK.”

Alison Montague, managing director EMEA for Universal Parks and Resorts, said: “We do a lot of work for Hollywood already but Ali’s appointment demonstrates our commitment to driving more business.”

She added: “The Hollywood and Orlando experiences are very different, and we need to continue to showcase what both can offer to the travel trade.”

Universal Orlando Resort is opening a host of new and revamped attractions this year, including attractions themed around Despicable Me and Spiderman, a daytime parade and an evening water show.