Sadness as Suffolk’s tourism boss quits

THE architect of Suffolk's campaign to attract more tourism business to the county is to quit, it was revealed yesterday.

Alex Paul, who has been the Choose Suffolk economic development partnership's tourism manager for the past two years, is to leave the role at the end of this year.

He is to take up the position of general manager at Suffolk Secrets, a self-catering cottage lettings business based at Southwold.

News of Mr Paul's impending departure comes just days before Choose Suffolk chief executive Celia Hodson leaves the organisation to begin a secondment as project director at the new Eastern Enterprise Hub, based at University Campus Suffolk in Ipswich.

He is not being directly replaced, with Choose Suffolk marketing manager Brigit Parker taking on a wider remit involving campaigns across both tourism and the partnership's other key role in attracting inward investment.

Ms Hodson said yesterday: 'We're sad that Alex will be leaving Choose Suffolk as he has played such a vital role in raising the profile of Suffolk as one of the UK's finest tourism destinations, and wish him all the very best in his new role at Suffolk Secrets.'

Suffolk businessman Tim Passmore, who is also leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, has been appointed as interim chief executive at Choose Suffolk to take over from Ms Hodson when she takes up her secondment at the start of next month.

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Ms Parker, a member of the Institute of Marketing, has more than 20 years' marketing and communications experience, having worked for organisations including P&O, Archant Suffolk, the East of England Co-op and the Suffolk Agricultural Association before joining Choose Suffolk two years ago.

She has been involved in a number of inward investment campaigns, including 'Why Choose Suffolk', 'China Friendly Suffolk' and 'Suffolk Observatory'.

She is also well-known within the county's tourism sector, having project managed Choose Suffolk's 'Destination Suffolk' tourism conference, held in March this year, and led on the delivery of its 'Great Days Out in Suffolk' campaign, designed to highlight the county's many attractions and activities as a destination for a day out.

'Choose Suffolk is forging ahead with a range of exciting activities in the coming months that will have a beneficial impact on the county's tourism and inward investment,' she said yesterday.

'Tourism will remain front of mind for me, and we remain the county's leading tourism agency undertaking cross-platform marketing activities that position Suffolk as a premier tourism destination.

'However, I'm relishing the opportunity to broaden my horizons and working to position Suffolk as the premier destination in the UK for inward investment.'

The changes in personnel at Choose Suffolk come at a time of upheaval for the economic development sector, with regional development agencies, including the East of England Development Agency (EEDA) being replaced by a network of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

Suffolk and Norfolk are submitting a bid for a joint partnership, to be known as the New Anglia LEP, after both saw their preferred options rejected by the Government in the first round of approvals.