Travel Foundation chief executive Sue Hurdle will not be returning to the role following her maternity leave.

Hurdle, who gave birth to twin boys in March last year, has headed the foundation since its inception 11 years ago.

She said that it was a “very difficult decision not to return” but the foundation’s “strong and experienced team” would continue to deliver, with exciting times ahead.

Salli Felton, acting chief executive, will continue in her interim role while the recruitment process begins for a new chief executive. Hurdle will continue to work for the Foundation as a part-time special advisor.

Hurdle said: “It has been my privilege to lead the Travel Foundation through the excitement and challenges of its infancy and to see it begin to mature into a key player in the field of sustainable tourism.

“It has been a very difficult decision not to return to the organisation as chief executive but there are some other infants now requiring my attention to help them mature – a role that will be no less challenging!

“It has been a very difficult decision not to return to the organisation as chief executive, but the foundation now has a strong and experienced team and a track record in delivering what it set out to achieve: demonstrating how sustainability applies to mainstream tourism.

“I am looking forward to supporting the organisation’s transition to the next phase in its development and wish the team every success with the exciting times ahead.”

Noel Josephides, chairman of the board of trustees, said: “We thank Sue for her leadership and stewardship throughout the years. Sue held true to the original vision of combining industry leadership and change, with life-changing livelihood and environmental conservation projects in destinations.

“These demonstration projects distinguish the Travel Foundation from other organisations in the field. Thanks to Sue and the team, the foundation now leads much of the industry’s collaborative work on sustainability.

“We are grateful to Salli for all her work and care of the organisation, supported by the whole team at the foundation, during the last year.”