Appointment to new Visit Pembrokeshire

CEO appointed to all new Visit Pembrokeshire


On Friday 6th November, members of Pembrokeshire Tourism voted to approve two special resolutions which completed one of the final steps in the process to establish a new Destination Management Organisation, the first of its type in Wales – and one of the few in the UK.

Over the last 20 months the Destination Pembrokeshire Partnership (DPP) – made up of Pembrokeshire Tourism, Pembrokeshire County Council, PLANED & The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority – have been working closely together to bring to life Pembrokeshire’s new Destination Management Organisation ‘Visit Pembrokeshire’. This new Destination Management Organisation is the first of its type in Wales bringing together the public, private and third sector to help drive growth and development within this key economic sector. At this challenging time for the tourism economy – the establishment of Visit Pembrokeshire offers some welcome good news.

The new DMO will launch on the 16th November, when the County Council Tourism Marketing staff and resources will be transferred to Pembrokeshire Tourism, the county’s trade organisation and will receive financial support from PCC and staffing resources from PCNPA and PLANED. The resultant organisation, Visit Pembrokeshire, will be led by the trade and will focus on a range of diverse activities including tourism leadership and advocacy, destination marketing, campaign and project delivery, industry liaison and support, research and intelligence and event support. The expanded team will continue to be based in the existing Pembrokeshire Tourism offices at Llanion cove, Pembroke Dock – under the new name of Visit Pembrokeshire.

The key appointment for this new organisation has been the recruitment of the new Chief Executive Officer.  The search for this much sought-after destination leadership role started earlier in the summer and attracted over 460 applications from all over the UK and abroad.

This search has now been completed and it has been announced that Emma Thornton has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of the newly formed Destination Management Organisation.

Speaking about her appointment, Emma says

“I am absolutely delighted to be appointed as the new CEO for Visit Pembrokeshire.

Pembrokeshire is one of the most beautiful parts of the UK and in fact the world.  The Destination Management Plan (DMP) published earlier this year, is a demonstration of the commitment from Destination Pembrokeshire Partners to work collaboratively, and sets out a clear vision and strategy to grow tourism for the benefit of all.

2020 has been an incredibly tough year for tourism, but with its stunning coastline, natural and cultural assets and great visitor experiences,  Pembrokeshire is now well placed to benefit from a growth in domestic tourism and, when the time is right, international visitors.

I feel privileged to be taking up this role at this challenging but exciting time and look forward to working with the new Visit Pembrokeshire team to lead on the delivery of the new DMP and to help support business recovery. ”

Pembrokeshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Tourism, Leisure and Culture, Paul Miller, said:

“The launch of Visit Pembrokeshire is fantastic news for this county. This is the first organisation of its kind in Wales and I’m proud that the Council has been at the forefront of making it happen.  It’s been an enormously challenging year for our tourism industry, and the creation of this new organisation brings hope and excitement for a better future.”

Tegryn Jones, Chief Executive of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority said:

“I welcome the establishment of Visit Pembrokeshire as the new Destination Management organisation working to promote Pembrokeshire as a leading visitor destination.

Tourism is an important part of the Pembrokeshire economy and the National Park Authority looks forward to working with Emma Thornton and her team, the Board of Visit Pembrokeshire and the wider tourism industry to develop a sustainable tourism offer that supports the people and communities of Pembrokeshire.”

Iwan Thomas – Chef executive of PLANED added “We are delighted to be working alongside our partners to contribute the voice of communities to this new tourism & hospitality body within Pembrokeshire. Our communities provide the skills, supplies, and much more in terms of support for this key sector of our economy within the county, so PLANED are 100% behind Visit Pembrokeshire, to demonstrate and deliver a joined-up and innovative approach that will benefit the county collectively”

Visit Pembrokeshire will have a formal launch event in the spring, but in the meantime, the whole team will be busy supporting the trade and tourism in the county – there will be regular updates.

The Destination Management Plan can be downloaded as a full report and/or as an executive summary.