Richard Ellis, Norfolk Country Cottages
Richard Ellis is the current Chair of the Board of Visit East Anglia. Richard started Norfolk Country Cottages in 1992 with his wife, Lesley Ellis in a room at their cottage in Reepham. Having trained as an accountant and worked in large companies, Richard wanted to develop his own 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 and environment in which we are based. Richard and his team between them are very active in local community affairs with the belief that "you can't have a business without a community and you can't have a community without business". Richard himself is involved as a trustee or board member of the Norwich Theatre Royal, The Forum Trust, The Prince's Trust in the East of England, as well as being the Chair of Governors of the Earlham Early Years Centre and a member of Norwich Cathedral's "Inspiration for the Future" Campaign Executive. Richard has been involved in many other local organisations such as Business in the Community and their Market Town Regeneration initiatives as well as chairing the Broadland Business Forum and the East of England Sustainable Development Round Table and Arts & Business East. In December 2003 he was appointed Chairman of the East of England Development Agency. After three terms of office, he stepped down and is now Chairman of the private/public partnership of Norfolk Tourism.
Keith Brown, chief executive
After graduating from Kingston University in Surrey Keith joined British Airways as a commercial trainee and worked in marketing specialising in third party partnerships including car rental and hotel sector development. He then moved directly into the hotel industry and held several senior marketing roles and was Vice President of Marketing for Hilton plc until 2006 after which he joined East of England Tourism as Chief Executive. As a result of the total withdrawal of its public sector funding and EET's eventual closure, Keith has been working with a small group of East Anglian business leaders on a new commercially driven organisation that culminated in the launch of Visit East Anglia on 1 September 2011.
Robert Gough, Gough Hotels
Robert was educated at Uppingham School and continued his education at London University (Queen Mary's college and the LSE) from where he graduated with a BA Hons in History. This was later followed by an MBA in Tourism from Oxford Brookes University.
Robert worked for the Trust House Forte Plc from 1988- 90 before returning to become managing director of the family hotel business where he has progressed his particular interest in the long term strategic planning and development.
In recent years Robert has overseen the expansion of his family hotel from 40 to 80 rooms and in 2004 the opening of the Salthouse Harbour Hotel, Ipswich's first 4 star boutique hotel. Outside of his own company Robert was Vice Chairman of the British Hospitality Association (Eastern Region) from 1998 to 2002 before serving as Chairman from 2002 to 2005. He was also Chairman of the Suffolk Tourism Partnership from 2005 to 2007 and Director of the Suffolk Development Agency. Robert now Chairs the Suffolk Tourism Group.
Barbara Greasley, Norfolk Broads Direct
I am very proud to be born and bred in Norfolk, and have lived in the Broadland village of Salhouse for the last 22 years.
I spent my early career in retail management working for several large retail chains in Norwich and Great Yarmouth. After having my two children I spent a brief time working for a local school supporting children with special needs in their learning.
In 2003 my husband and I were in the very fortunate position to be able to do a Management Buyout of Norfolk Broads Direct Limited, formerly the Funnell Group, where Paul had been the Company Secretary for many years.
In 2010 we sold the Herbert Woods boatyard in Potter Heigham and reinvested all of the proceeds into our site in Wroxham.
From this site we operate 57 quality hire cruisers, 13 waterside holiday homes, 5 passenger trip boats and 45 self-drive day boats and day cruisers.
In 2008 I joined Broads Tourism, a membership organisation set up to promote the Broads destination. In 2011 I was voted in as Chairman of the group.
During the summer of 2011 I was delighted to have been approached by Richard Ellis to become a founder member of the very exciting private sector led Visit East Anglia.
Tom Blofeld, BeWILDerwood
Tom's family have lived in Hoveton, Norfolk for generations and he recently took over the running of the Estate from his father Sir John Blofeld. He is married to Leslie, a film journalist and they have a son, Rufus and a very recent daughter, Eve.
Previous to dreaming up the concept of BeWILDerwood Tom had a ‘maverick' career.
• He ran his own company ‘Templestone' fire surrounds for 12 years
• He was a Curator at the Courtauld Institute
• By his own admission a bad art dealer
• and also a one time worker at McDonalds.
Tom has always had a sense of fun and together with a passionate interest in Children's literature and a dream of having his own book published, ‘A Boggle at BeWILDerwood' and BeWILDerwood could be said to be that dream come true.
Tom is a founding member of Visit East Anglia, a new organisation funded by the private sector to promote tourism across East Anglia. Tom is also Vice President of Autism Anglia.
Liz Cobbold, Adnams
Liz Cobbold joined Adnams in 2008 as Head of Retail Marketing. Liz is responsible for Marketing across Adnams four Coastal Hotels, 12 Cellar & Kitchen Shops and for all digital marketing activity. In addition Liz is responsible for development of Adnams product brand packaging, Cellar & Kitchen store design and delivering a customer experience that reflects Adnams brand values of passion, individuality, honesty and responsibility.
Prior to joining Adnams Liz spent seven years in senior marketing and customer management roles at Tesco PLC where she was responsible for Brand Management of the Tesco Finest and Organic brands and development of new ranges and store formats.
Liz's favourite Adnams product is First Rate Gin and in her spare time she enjoys running and walking the many miles of beautiful Suffolk countryside which surround the Adnams brewery and distillery.
Tim Rowan-Robertson, TA Hotel Collection
After spending 24 years, living in London, working for large brewers and leisure companies Tim decided, in 1996, to move out to Suffolk, where he and family spent week-ends and holidays. In that year he acquired, with a friend, Thorpeness Hotel & Golf Club and has since increased the size of the business to 5 hotels, a pub and Country Club - all in Suffolk. The business is now known as TA Hotel Collection Ltd and employs around 350 management and staff. Tim has been heavily involved in various aspects of tourism in Suffolk and, in particular, the Suffolk Coast around Aldeburgh, where 4 of the hotels are located. Outside work, Tim is a keen golfer, chairs The Aldeburgh Cinema and tries to find time for a rapidly increasing horde of grand children.
Chris Coubrough, Flying Kiwi Inns
Born in North Island, New Zealand in 1971, chef Chris Coubrough has worked in some of the finest kitchens in the world before finally settling in Norfolk 10 years ago with his wife and 2 children.
Chris owns some of the most popular gastro-pubs in Norfolk including The Crown Hotel Wells-next-the-Sea, The King's Head Letheringsett, The Crown Inn East Rudham, The Ship in Brancaster and his latest edition The White Hart Hotel in Hingham. Amongst them they have an increasing list of notable awards and achievements including Best Gastropub, Best Freehouse, Best Turnaround Site for East Anglia in The Great British Pub, Norfolk Dining Pub of The Year 2010 and 2011 in the prestigious Good Pub Guide to name but a few.
Growing up on an isolated farm where if they wanted to eat something they had to grow it first, Chris soon realised his natural flair with food and took a three year cookery course before winning the New Zealand Trade Board's Swiss Scholarship which sent him to Michelin starred cooking in The Hotel Hirschen on Lake Zurich and later to Bern. Continuing his world travels Chris moved to London, cooking at Frederick's restaurant in Islington for two years, before moving to Southwold in Suffolk, where for eight years he ran the kitchens of the well-known Adnams hotels, The Crown and The Swan before in 2002 moving to Norfolk and opening his first Hotel, The Crown in Wells-next-the-Sea.
His complete understanding of food has meant he is as relaxed demonstrating to 500 people as he is in front of the camera always imparting a little bit of knowledge that he hopes will give people a greater understanding of the food they eat.
Chris' television career started after he was talent spotted during a cooking demonstration in 2006 his natural camera presence meant he was soon presenting Coastal Kitchen (ITV Anglia) as well as appearing on Eating for Britain (Channel 4) and Market Kitchen (UKTV). He has just come back from filming the third series of a food and travel programme ‘A Taste of Greenland' which has been sold to BBC World.
Chris thrives on a challenge - He'll cook anything anywhere and has; from a cave to a boat even on an isolated iceberg.
Martin Dupée, Banham Zoo, Africa Alive! and Dinosaur Adventure
Martin Dupée joined the Goymour Group as Commercial Manager for Banham Zoo in 2004, where in the intervening years he became Operations Manager at Banham Zoo, Head of Operations for Banham Zoo and Africa Alive! and, following the acquisition by the group in 2006, Dinosaur Adventure. In January 2012 Martin was appointed to the role of Operations Director.
Martin is responsible for all guest services including marketing, catering, retail, cleaning and play supervision across the three visitor attractions and also the functions suite and caravan park at Banham Zoo.
Prior to joining Banham Zoo, Martin's career covered many aspects of retail and catering having worked for companies including Little Chef, Travelodge, Vision Express and Going Places after an early career in the Merchant Navy working for Shell UK and P&O Cruises.
In addition to being a founding member of Visit East Anglia, Martin is also a Director of Norfolk Tourist Attractions Association and Visit Suffolk Attractions. He is also a Magistrate serving on the Norwich Bench.
Alex Paul, Suffolk Secrets
Alex Paul was appointed General Manager of Suffolk Secrets in January 2011 responsible for running Suffolk’s leading holiday cottage agency with over 400 properties across the county.
Alex has worked in tourism throughout his career starting at JAC Travel in London where he was responsible for running the Educational Travel Department before moving on to be Head of Sales for long haul markets specialising in US, Australia and South Africa.
In 2004 Alex joined the national tourist board VisitBritain as Head of Internationals Market based in London where he worked to grow UK tourism engagement with the oversees marketing campaigns that VisitBritain delivered in its global markets.
In 2005 moved with his family to Chicago, USA as Director of Trade/Business Tourism for VisitBritain – primarily focussed on working with US travel trade to increase leisure and business tourism. Alex returned to London in 2007 to lead on the development of EventBritain, set up by ViistBritain, to build on the opportunities of hosting the Olympic Games in 2012.
A love of East Anglia and in particular Suffolk encouraged Alex to move his family to Lavenham in 2008 where he was appointed Head of Tourism for Choose Suffolk. After 3 years of leading tourism marketing for Suffolk, he left for this current post at Suffolk Secrets.
Alex has been a board member of Visit East Anglia since its creation and is also a director of The Suffolk Coast Ltd a body aimed at promoting Suffolk’s beautiful coast. Alex also sits on the committee of Lavenham Guild of Merchants and is a youth team coach at Boxford Rovers FC!