[I]an Stephens, the MD of Cumbria Tourism – the lead organisation for the marketing and development of tourism in the county – is stepping down. With destination brands like the Lake District, Hadrian’s Wall and Historic Carlisle, the role is one of the most important in England’s tourism industry responsible for Cumbria’s £2.6 billion industry that supports 40,000 jobs throughout the County.
Mr Stephens, 57, said: “It has been an honour and privilege to work in one of the most exciting and dynamic sectors in UK’s economy. I have loved working for Cumbria Tourism and with exceptional people through major changes.
“It’s a challenging role and now is the time to hand the reins to someone who can take the organisation through the next phase of its development. I’m not planning to retire and am looking forward to pursuing a number of projects in due course. After 14 years as a director of CT, I feel I need a change and the next six months seems a good time to make the move.
“I also think it’s a good thing for CT and chance for a fresh start with a new constitution and new leadership. CT is in good shape and in the strongest position it’s been for many years, with great potential to grow. So, in the short term, it is my priority to see through a smooth handover with minimum disruption. “
Mr Stephens became Chief Executive of CT in 2005 following on from Chris Collier OBE. He was formerly CT’s Deputy Chief Executive and Operations Director. He has worked in the tourism and leisure sector for 28 years in a number of operational and leadership roles. He joined the executive board of Cumbria Tourism in 2002 and is believed to be the organisation’s longest ever serving executive director.
Born in Carmarthenshire, West Wales, Ian trained and qualified as a chartered town planner and worked for the Sports Council before moving into marketing with a leading London based agency.
He is a fellow of the Tourism Society, a Trustee of Nurture Lakeland, a Director of FairBooking UK and Welcome to Excellence Ltd. Ian’s career has involved a range of roles in market research, tourism policy, strategic marketing and campaign planning.
Since joining CT, he played a pivotal role in various marketing campaigns such as the Place to Be campaign, Taste Cumbria and Adventure Capital campaigns and in crisis management with the Foot and Mouth Recovery campaign and Flood Recovery campaign, and with an exceptional team of staff has spearheaded the drive to improve all aspects of the tourism industry across Cumbria.