DESTINATION Devon, the newly-formed destination management organisation responsible for promoting Devon to the world, has appointed Devon-based entrepreneur, Clive Jacobs, as its first chairman.
Jacobs moved to Devon in 2003 and is most well known as the founder of the car rental business Holiday Autos.
He will chair the newly formed board of directors which includes the organisation's new CEO Nicola Poultney and representatives from the county's six area tourism partnerships, Visit Plymouth, North Devon +, and the English Rivera Tourist Board together with countywide groups — Devon County Council, the Devon Association of Tourist Attractions and Devon Farms.
Jacobs' varied business interests include a Devon tourism focus, having bought the Michelin-starred New Angel Restaurant and Rooms in Dartmouth earlier this year.
On the look-out for an unexploited niche in the travel business, Jacobs and two partners founded Holiday Autos in 1987. He went on to build the company into a global business over the next 16 years with offices in 30 countries worldwide, successfully selling to online travel and lifestyle business lastminute.com in 2003.
His tourism credentials include being awarded the World Travel Market Global Award for his contribution to the UK travel industy, which was followed in 2000 by a Tribute 21 award, an accolade given to only 21 key individuals who had been instrumental in bringing pioneering changes to the travel industry over the previous 21 years. More recently, in 2003, he was inducted in the travel industry's Hall of Fame, alongside the likes of Billy Butlin, Lord King and Richard Branson.
He said: "I was honoured to be asked to be chairman of Destination Devon. In my view Devon is without doubt the most diverse county in the country, with two stunning coastlines, rivers, rolling hills and moors.
"Historically Devon is used to attracting tourism. However we are working in an increasingly competitive industry and there is a risk that complacency can set in. As a tourism body we will focus on providing training and support to ensure standards do improve so that we exceed our visitor expectations.
"At the same time, we will work to increase the awareness of what Devon has to offer to as many people as possible so that our share of business grows."
The new organisation acts as a voice of tourism for Devon and its aim is simple — to increase the number of visitors to Devon and the amount of money spent here by promoting the county as a year-round quality visitor destination.
The organisation will add value and enhance the work and activities undertaken by the six Area Tourism Partnerships across the county. It is committed to growing the tourism sector sustainably, increasing the skills within the industry and raising the quality of our visitor experience.
Destination Devon is getting set to launch a new and innovative marketing campaign in October 2008 aimed at increasing awareness of the county as a year round holiday and short break destination and to drive more visitors to the county during this time.