Welcome to Yorkshire, the region’s tourism marketing agency, has relaunched a Yorkshire Ambassador programme to help support its objectives over the next few years. The Ambassadors, drawn from all areas of Yorkshire, will support a range of different sectors within the wider economy as the region continues its post-Covid recovery.

Led by, Philip Bolson, owner of Mr B Hospitality, and former General Manager of the Grand Hotel in York, Ambassadors will represent all four corners of the county from North, South, East & West Yorkshire to promote the region as a place to Visit, Live, Work & Study. As experts within their field, the group will act as thought leaders in their respective sectors whilst also bringing opportunities to life by representing Welcome to Yorkshire and the county of Yorkshire at events throughout the year to demonstrate support for all that is happening in the region.

The full Ambassador list is not exhaustive but includes the following:

Nicky Chance-Thompson DL - Chief Executive Officer at the Piece Hall Trust
Richard Stubbs - Chief Executive Officer of the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN)
Abbi Ollive - Head of Marketing and Sales at Castle Howard
Dr Amir Khan - GP and television presenter
Sharon Watson DL - CEO and Principal at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance
Hannah Cockroft MBE DL - Paralympian, multiple-winning gold medallist
Paul Vinsen - Hotel & Tourism Advisor at The Hull, Humber & East Yorkshire Hospitality Association
James Mackenzie - Head Chef and Owner of the Michelin starred restaurant Pipe And Glass Inn, near Beverley
Debbie Dobson - Director of Sales at Dakota Hotel in Leeds.
Fiona Gardham - Tourism and hospitality consultant and owner of award-winning Bed and Breakfast The House at Hawes

In addition, Günther Peeters, based in Belgium, will act as a European Ambassador. Having studied at the University of Hull, Mr Peeters describes himself as a “passionate Yorkshire fan” and carries out missionary work in Northern Europe. He is currently Managing Director at Dutch professional football club FC Eindhoven.

James Mason, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, explained the reasoning behind the initiative: “The idea of Yorkshire Ambassadors isn’t a new concept and we still have many people who are associated with Welcome to Yorkshire that act as Ambassadors every day. Furthermore, anyone connected with the county, whether you were born here or live and work here, should always be flying the flag for our region. But after a really difficult few years, we thought it was worth relaunching this initiative with a fresh approach and with people who have played a significant role in supporting both the organisation and county over a very challenging period. Anyone that has been an Ambassador or Patron before should still consider themselves a key figure in our past, present and future. We need all the support we can garner and look forward to seeing them at events later this year.”

Philip Bolson, Chair of the Ambassador group and the driving force behind hospitality business mentor Mr B Hospitality, stated that, “throughout my career, my focus has been on developing high performing teams, building partnerships, being curious, keeping things simple, and ‘getting things done’. I hope to bring this attitude and experience to my role as a Welcome to Yorkshire Ambassador.”

Paul Vinsen, Hotel & Tourism Advisor at The Hull, Humber & East Yorkshire Hospitality Association, declared that he was looking forward to “making a contribution to our industry in which I have been involved all my working life.”

Abbi Ollive, Head of Marketing and Sales at Castle Howard, stated that, “I am hugely passionate about encouraging as many people as possible to experience all that Yorkshire has to offer. Our beautiful region is ideally placed to be the backdrop to the happiest of memories and the more I can contribute to help tourism recover in a post-pandemic world, working with the team of ambassadors, the better!”

Fiona Gardham, owner of The House at Hawes, a luxury B&B in the Yorkshire Dales, said, “there is no greater privilege and pleasure than helping people make memories that last a lifetime from their visit to Yorkshire.”

In addition, the organisation formed a Tourism Recovery Task Group earlier this year chaired by The Piece Hall Trust’s Nicky Chance-Thompson. She added: “Bringing together key figures from both the public and private sector, the group feeds into national agencies and policy makers with regards to the ongoing challenges and opportunities that exist as the region deals with the Coronavirus pandemic. The Ambassador group will play a vital role in amplifying the challenges and opportunities the county faces.”