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Cumbria Tourism is set to host its Annual General Meeting at the North Lakes Hotel, Penrith, on Thursday 28th June, starting at 2.00pm. The current Commercial Members Chairman Janet Fallon will welcome assembled guests and introduce key note speaker, author and journalist Hunter Davies, who is also the winner of the 2012 Bernard Gooch Award.
The meeting will then see the presentation of the 2012 Bernard Gooch Cumbria Tourism Personality of the Year Award. The award is presented in memory of Bernard Gooch, who was the first Chairman of Cumbria Tourism’s commercial members committee and is the highest award the industry collectively bestows, and is given for an individual’s ‘service to tourism’.
Previous winners have included Sir Chris Bonington and Cederic Robinson. This award is managed by the Commercial Members Committee. The recipient is selected for the award in recognition of their outstanding personal contribution over and above their normal duties to the visitor economy in Cumbria.
Web experts Sedley Place, who have been carrying out a digital review for Cumbria Tourism will also give members a practical presentation outlining top tips to inform their digital media strategies and outline what’s hot and what’s not in digital media for 2012/13.
New committee representatives will also take their seats on to the 2012/13 Commercial Members’ Committee, the six candidates will give a minute’s summary of their credentials and how they will represent the wider membership.
Businessman and hotelier Simon Bennett, of the award-winning Augill Castle will be appointed as successor to Janet Fallon, of South Lakes Cottages, as chairman of the Commercial Members, while Jeanette Edgar, of the Lakeland Arts Trust will take up her role as Vice Chairman.
Simon Bennett runs Augill Castle with his wife Wendy, which they have built up over the years, starting from scratch, transforming the business into a multi-award winning concern. Prior to moving to Cumbria Simon ran a successful restaurant in Mayfair, London, and before that he worked in large hotels in a variety of capacities around the world. In addition to a full and varied career in the hospitality industry, he has trained as a journalist and now undertakes regular freelance projects.
Simon said: “I have worked for many years to make Augill Castle an award-winning business, and so know inside out what it takes for a tourism business to achieve outstanding quality. I look forward to contributing some of this knowledge in my new role as Chairman of Cumbria Tourism’s Commercial Members Committee.”
He added: ‘’I believe Cumbria is one of the best holiday destinations in Britain, but also believe that closer cooperation between regions across the north of England can only strengthen everybody’s message.’’
Ian Stephens, Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism, said: "We are delighted to welcome Hunter Davies as our guest speaker at this year's annual general meeting, and look forward with great interest to hearing about his latest work and his thoughts for this Olympic year.’’
He added: “Our Adventure Capital work, the food and drink programme and Cultural Tourism have been a huge success in the past year, appealing to people from all walks of life, and we are optimistic its success can only keep on growing. We are heavily involved in a new partnership project called GoLakes Travel designed to encourage visitors to use sustainable transport and get out and about by driving less and seeing more. Alongside this the year ahead looks bright and we as a tourist board and destination have much to shout about including; numerous award nominations like the Countryfile awards and British Travel Awards, ‘our moment to shine’."