Wednesday, 15 December 2010

New Norfolk Tourism Chairman - Richard Ellis Norfolk Country Cottages

Richard Ellis, founder of Norfolk Country Cottages, one of the county’s leading tourism businesses, is the new Chairman of Norfolk Tourism, the public and private sector tourism industry partnership. Mr Ellis succeeds Michael Timewell, Director of Blue Sky Leisure.

Mr Ellis originally trained as a management accountant and worked for multinational companies before moving into the food industry. He was instrumental in bringing Kettle Foods to Norwich and was their Chief Executive until 2000. In January 1992 he started Norfolk Country Cottages, with his wife Lesley, in a room at their cottage in Reepham.

Richard Ellis explained: “I wanted to develop my own tourism business based on a strong set of personal values about quality of service, attention to detail, valuing and respecting people, as well as playing an active and responsible role in the community.”

Norfolk Country Cottages is now the leading self catering agency in Norfolk with sister brands in Suffolk – Suffolk Secrets, Kent & Sussex – Freedom Holiday Homes, and Devon – Marsdens Cottage Holidays. Now collectively known as The Original Cottage Company, the business has grown to be one of the largest independent holiday cottage agencies in the UK.

Mr Ellis was appointed Chairman of EEDA in December 2003 and retired at the end of March. He is currently a trustee of Norwich Theatre Royal, The Forum Trust, Norwich and the Holt Festival.

Richard Ellis added: “I am very pleased to have joined the team at Norfolk Tourism. We live in challenging economic times, but these are also times of great opportunity for those of us involved in the county’s tourism industry. With more people holidaying at home and the Olympics approaching fast, there is growth to be had. But with reducing public funding it is imperative that the private and public sectors work more closely together to ensure that we both attract and delight more visitors.”

In 2009 tourism in Norfolk was worth £2.6 billion to the local economy. Tourism related employment was 49,652, comprising 14% of the county’s workforce,