Bristol tourism boss takes up part-time job as Visit Bath CEO

September 6, 2019

Visit Bath, the city’s destination market organisation, has appointed the head of tourism for Bristol as its part-time, interim chief executive officer.

Kathryn Davis, pictured, has been seconded to the organisation by Destination Bristol and will spend three days a week working in Bath until next spring. 

Her arrival is the latest twist in the ongoing management saga at Visit Bath following the appointment 14 months ago of businessman Craig Jenkins as executive chairman and the subsequent departure of chief executive David James, who had been at the helm of Visit Bath for nearly four years.

In April Mr Jenkins “voluntarily stepped aside”, according to Visit Bath owner Bath & North East Somerset Council (B&NES), and he formerly retired from the role in July to be replaced in a non-executive capacity by Pip Galland, an HR and employment lawyer at Bristol-headquartered national law firm Burges Salmon and existing Visit Bath board member.

Visit Bath said Kathryn’s immediate priorities included establishing a new stakeholder and membership communication programme, delivering a business plan and destination management plan and developing strategic partnerships within the region, including a closer working partnership with Bristol and the surrounding areas.

Her role will include overseeing all areas of the business during the secondment period, including the Visitor Information Centre on Terrace Walk and implementing the Christmas Market, as well as destination marketing and commercial activity.

Kathryn has more than 25 years’ experience in the tourism and hospitality industry, almost 20 of them working with destination management organisations in marketing, commercial and visitor experience. 

Last November she was presented with the award for Outstanding Achievement in Tourism at the Bristol, Bath and Somerset Tourism Awards.

Kathryn said: “I am thrilled to be part of the Visit Bath team and look forward to being able to work with members, partners and stakeholders in the strategic development and delivery of the visitor economy in Bath and North East Somerset.”

In a statement, the Visit Bath board said: “We are delighted to have Kathryn join Visit Bath and lead on delivering our core services to support and develop the visitor economy of Bath and the surrounding area. 

“Kathryn brings extensive tourism marketing and destination management experience to the role, as well as an ability to forge strong and enduring partnerships that will ensure that Bath continues to be a leading destination both regionally, and for our national and international visitors.”

B&NES council leader Dine Romero added: “I welcome Kathryn’s appointment to Visit Bath and the expertise she brings to the role, as well as the opportunity for a closer working partnership with Bristol and the surrounding areas.”

Bath’s visitor economy is worth more than £430m has been growing at around 3% every year.

Visit Bath has a network of around 700 local businesses who benefit from a range of marketing opportunities, with 100% of their membership fees directed straight into promoting Bath as a premier visitor destination.



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