IHG Hotels Europe boss to co-chair Tourism Industry Council

A new joint-chair has been appointed for the Tourism Industry Council joint forum between industry and government.

IHG Hotels Europe managing director Karin Sheppard will join tourism minister Nigel Huddleston as co-chair of the group as it seeks to support the sector in a swift recovery back to 2019 levels of tourism.

She succeeds Hilton EMEA president Simon Vincent, who has co-chaired the Council for seven years.

The newly focused Tourism Industry Council will support delivery of the government’s tourism recovery plan.

It will also support an inter-ministerial group on the visitor economy – chaired by culture secretary Nadine Dorries – set up to coordinate government interventions.

The Council pledged to make sure the industry’s voice is heard and represented to help the visitor economy reach its full potential.

Members will discuss key themes including accessibility, with the aim of being the most accessible tourism destination in Europe by 2025.

The Council will also focus on making sure the benefits of tourism are shared across the UK and sustainability to protect and conserve the UK’s heritage and minimise damage to the environment.

Almost 30 industry representatives sit on the Council, including Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer and the heads of UKinbound, Airlines UK, Tourism Alliance and UKHospitality.

Huddleston said: “Our brilliant tourism sector makes an enormous contribution to our economy and with the rest of the Council we are working hard to support the industry as it builds back better from the pandemic.”

Sheppard said: “I am honoured to be appointed to this important role at such a crucial time for the tourism industry, which has always been a vital part of the UK economy.

“Together, we have faced unprecedented challenges over the past 18 months and shown how resilient and adaptable we are as a sector.

“We now need to think about how we continue to recover together; delivering the tourism recovery plan, restoring the UK’s position as a world-leading visitor destination and building on the work we are already doing to build a more sustainable, inclusive and accessible industry.”

Vincent added: “The Tourism Industry Council has provided an invaluable forum for partnership between industry and government during some of the most challenging years on record.

“Having co-chaired the Council since its inception seven years ago, and as we now focus on the recovery, it’s time to hand over the reins to Karin and I wish her well in her new role.

“Hilton will continue to support the Council’s ambitious plans to rebuild the UK’s world class tourism sector.”

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