The out-going Deputy Chief Executive of Visit Herts, David Curtis-Brignell, has been awarded an MBE for services to tourism in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List published on 10 October.
His nomination for an MBE was in recognition of the ‘decades’ of voluntary work he did in the industry as Chair of Visit England’s English Tourism Week for 10 years (and prior to that British Tourism Week which he co-founded) and his activities with the professional organisation The Tourism Society. He was one of the longest-serving members of the Board and uniquely spent two terms as the Society’s Chairman. He created and edited for 6 years the journal ‘Tourism’ and in later years developed the annual Tourism Symposium.
His career started in local government in Worthing and Swanage before he joined the English Tourist Board. After 9 years he moved to the commercial sector holding senior roles in international hotel companies, a tour operator and for the past 5 years the Destination Management Organisation (DMO), Visit Kent. Here he started the new DMO Visit Herts from scratch and then re-engineered the 14-year-old Visit Kent to be more stakeholder focused; innovations included Corporate Members an annual tourism awards programme and he was involved in starting up the trading arm, GoToPlaces and winning valuable contracts outside of the two counties.
David has taken voluntary redundancy and left the organisation on 12 October. He says that he is definitely not retiring but looking at ways of helping businesses and tourism and hospitality staff affected by this year’s downturn as a result of Covid-19 and will be taking on advisory, writing and public speaking roles.
Bill Ferris, Chairman of Go To Places said: ‘It has been my personal pleasure to work with David for many years both in his time at GoToPlaces and previously. He has been an inspirational leader within the hospitality and tourism sector throughout his career. His contribution has been fundamental in generating so much success for Kent, Hertfordshire and many other destinations as well as individual visitor economy related businesses.
‘A titan of the sector, his contribution and genial style will be missed, although knowing David I’m sure he will still be ‘visible’. I wish him well, personally and on behalf of our sector, as he moves on to enjoy a more relaxed time with family and other interests.’
Deirdre Wells, Chief Executive of Visit Herts, Visit Kent and GoToPlaces said: ‘David is a true tourism legend whose contribution to GoToPlaces Hertfordshire and Kent has been matched only by his decades of dedication to the UK’s visitor economy. His support to me and my predecessor, Sandra Matthews-Marsh, in growing the GoToPlaces enterprise – and in particular his pivotal role in setting up Visit Hertfordshire – have been second to none. His good-humour and kindness to colleagues is matched only by his effervescent energy. A passionate advocate for tourism, David’s role as Chair of English Tourism Week and the Tourism Society were examples, among many, of his desire to raise the bar for tourism management and champion the huge contribution of our vital industry. He will be much missed.’