New Chairman of the Tourism Alliance

Michael Hirst OBE has been elected as the new Chairman of the Tourism Alliance, the tourism industry’s umbrella body, representing over fifty organisations. He succeeds Brigid Simmonds OBE, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association.

Michael Hirst is Chairman of the Business Visits & Events Partnership and a former Chairman and Chief Executive of Hilton international. His career spans the broad range of tourism activities, including holiday and leisure centres, restaurants, pubs, and attractions.

In taking on the position he said –

I am delighted to be representing all of tourism important business interests in this the iconic year for both Britain's tourism and events industry. The Business Visits and Events Partnership has been a long standing supporter of the Tourism Alliance since its inception ten years ago. To take on its leadership shows how far the recognition of the events sector has come.

He added that:

The Alliance’s role must be to maintain the momentum for tourism created by the Olympics and the Jubilee celebrations and ensure that Government support continues so that the tourism legacy can be maximised.
The Alliance’s new three year strategy identifies five core issues that affect the international competitiveness of the UK tourism industry that the Government must address if the tourism legacy of hosting the Olympics is to be realised. These issues are: reducing regulatory burden, facilitating visa applications, providing adequate aviation capacity, reducing VAT and reviewing Air Passenger Duty.

Resolving these key issues will put the tourism industry in its rightful place as a main-steam growth sector of the UK economy, generating jobs, skills, exports and investment, as well as being a leading contributor to the fortunes of local businesses, the Nation’s image and community well-being.

Over the last ten years the Alliance has created the one voice for tourism so desperately needed by such a diverse but vitally important economic sector. Stressing tourism’s pivotal role in the Country’s growth agenda and highlighting its economic and social relevance to policymakers and the general public is a task that all members of the Alliance are committed to doing.