News & Events

New Chairperson elected to Destination Management Group


Plans to make Torbay the UK’s top visitor destination by 2030 are being driven forward by a newly elected Chairperson and reformed management group.

Carolyn Custerson was recently voted in as Chairperson for the English Riviera Destination Management Group (DMG) which focuses on strengthening the region’s position as the UK’s premier visitor destination.

Carolyn is Chief Executive of the English Riviera BID Company and brings 35 years of experience in the tourism sector to her new role as Chairperson. She was voted in at the Group’s recent meeting at EPIC (Electronics and Photonics Innovation Centre) and replaces outgoing Chairperson Lynn Stephens, Senior Head of Curriculum at South Devon College.

The Destination Management Group has a critical role in delivering the English Riviera Destination Plan 2022-30 which was officially adopted by Torbay Council in October this year. It is comprised of members across the destination including representatives from TDA, English Riviera BID Company, Torbay Council, South Devon College, Torbay Business Forum, Torbay Culture, English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark, Meet English Riviera, National Trust English Riviera, Torbay Coast & Countryside Trust and Torbay Place Leadership Board.

Working collaboratively with tourism businesses, the group is focused on developing the English Riviera’s visitor economy; making best use of resources, working in partnership and attracting further investment to deliver the Plan’s vision and key objectives which are:

  • Recover – to return to 2019 spend and visitor levels by 2024
  • Grow – achieve an additional £75m of tourism spend and 1,500 new jobs by 2030
  • Rebalance – achieve more sustainable visits all year round.

The ambitious plan aims to refresh and reposition the English Riviera as the UK’s holiday resort of the future, with a vibrant arts and cultural offer for visitors to enjoy; where Torbay’s built and natural environment is celebrated and where the climate change emergency is addressed.

Carolyn Custerson said: ‘’The new English Riviera Destination Management Plan is a very exciting and carefully researched plan that sets out a new vision and in particular, clearly identifies markets for growth that can help secure our position as the UK’s Premier Resort. Having worked in UK tourism for over 35 years I am delighted to be appointed Chairperson and to work with partners and local tourism and hospitality businesses to achieve this ambition.’’   

Councillor Swithin Long, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration, Tourism and Housing at Torbay Council, said: ‘‘Carolyn has a wealth of experience and is a real asset to the Destination Management Group. Under her leadership, and with the expertise of our group members, we are in a strong position to deliver the priorities outlined in the Destination Management Plan. We are committed to making Torbay the UK’s top tourist destination by 2030 which will create new opportunities for local businesses and communities and bring further prosperity to the region.’’

Photo: Councillor Swithin Long and Carolyn Custerson