New Directors appointed to Harrogate’s tourism body

Welcome to Harrogate Limited, the first ever destination management organisation for the Harrogate district, has appointed eight Directors to sit on the Board alongside Chair Designate, Peter McCormick. They are:

  • Peter Banks – Managing Director, Rudding Park
  • Councillor Caroline Bayliss – Harrogate Borough Council
  • Sharon Canavar – Chief Executive Harrogate International Festival
  • Sue Dalton – Head of Museums, Ripon Museum Trust
  • Sandra Doherty – President of Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce and Proprietor Alexa House Guest House
  • Chris MacKenzie – Managing Partner, The Whole Caboodle
  • Councillor Pat Marsh – Harrogate Borough Council
  • Kate Robey – Operations Manager for Provenance Inns
Welcome to Harrogate Ltd Directors 1.jpg ( l to r  Sue Dalton, Kate Robey, Chris MacKenzie, Peter McCormick, Peter Banks, Sharon Canavar, Sandra Doherty).  Cllrs Bayliss and Marsh were unavailable when the picture was taken
Welcome to Harrogate Ltd Directors 1.jpg ( l to r Sue Dalton, Kate Robey, Chris MacKenzie, Peter McCormick, Peter Banks, Sharon Canavar, Sandra Doherty). Cllrs Bayliss and Marsh were unavailable when the picture was taken


The company’s objectives are:

  1. To promote the Harrogate district to become a world class destination in which to visit, live, learn, work, and invest.
  2. To work towards fully meeting the needs and expectations of the visitor whilst developing opportunities with businesses and communities to significantly contribute to the overall economic performance of the area.
  3. To be the destination management organisation for Harrogate and its environs.

Further details are available here 

Peter McCormick OBE, Chair Designate of Welcome to Harrogate Ltd, says there was a very strong field of applicants. He added:

As we expected, it was a difficult choice as those who believe in this district and the value of its tourism economy were keen to get on board. Under the rules of the new company, two of the Board’s seats are filled by nominations from Harrogate Borough Council. The council has committed £70,000 to help with the start-up of this new not for profit company and the North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership has given a grant of £10,000.

I am confident that we have the right people sitting on the Board. We wanted it to comprise those who have honed their skills in the key tourism sectors including accommodation and hospitality, visitor attractions, rural tourism, events organisations, finance and marketing. We also wanted them to be highly regarded within their own organisation and within their particular sector. I believe we have achieved that. Just as importantly, there is an excellent mix of sectors. These are all high calibre people who have the necessary skills and commitment to make this company succeed.


Director’s profiles:

Peter McCormick OBE – Peter is the Senior Partner of one of Yorkshire’s best known law firms, McCormicks Solicitors, of Harrogate. Peter founded McCormicks and heads the Corporate and Commercial team. He is an internationally recognised expert in Sports and Media and Entertainment law. He is best known as the Chairman of the Legal Advisory Group of the Premier League. He is a Chairman of Sport Resolutions (UK), a Trustee of the Football Foundation (Britain’s largest sports charity) and Chairman of Football Stadia Improvement Fund Ltd. He also advises a number of successful businesses in the leisure and tourism sectors.


Peter Banks – Managing Director Rudding Park. Peter has been with Rudding Park for 15 years during which this multi-faceted leisure business has won a number of top awards including Trip Advisor’s Best Hotel in the UK for two years running. He is Chairman of Promoting Harrogate, Member of Welcome to Yorkshire Private Sector Members’ Group and has fifteen years’ experience of voluntarily serving the local community.


Councillor Caroline Bayliss – Elected to Harrogate Borough Council in 1983. Among a number of high profile positions over the past 30 years, Caroline has served as Vice Chairman of the Harrogate and Dales Tourism Partnership and is Vice Chairman of the North of England Horticultural Society. Her contribution to the district was recognised by the Harrogate Hospitality and Tourism Awards in 2009 when she took the Ambassador of the Year Award.


Sharon Canavar – Chief Executive Harrogate International Festival. Sharon has been with the Festival for ten years, three as Chief Executive. These award winning Festivals attract regional, national and international markets. Sharon is the lead contact for the district-wide body Destination Culture, for whom she has secured new funding, and she is also a trustee of the North Yorkshire Youth Music Action Zone. Sharon is also part of a region-wide consortium of festivals’ network.


Sue Dalton – Head of Museums, Ripon Museum Trust. Sue has worked for the last 21 years in the leisure and tourism in both the public and private sector for organisations such as the National Railway Museum, Tate and Madam Tussauds. Sue led on behalf of the NRM working with York Theatre Royal on the co-production of the Railway Children in York, London and Toronto which contributed to the NRM winning a number of major awards and Welcome to Yorkshire taking it on as one of their key marketing campaigns.


Sandra Doherty – Proprietor Alexa House Guest House. Sandra who is, currently President of the Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce and Chair of Accommodation Harrogate which has 46 members owning smaller hotels and guest houses. For the past six years Sandra has increased its membership and, as part of the wider promotion of what the district has to offer tourists, she has set up links with other similar associations across the country. Sandra took an early lead in supporting the development of the destination management organisation for the district.


Chris MacKenzie – Managing Partner,The Whole Caboodle, a full service Advertising and Marketing Agency based in Harrogate. As well as his marketing experience, Chris has specific experience in the leisure and tourism markets. The Agency has recently won two industry awards for their integrated marketing campaigns for clients in the sector to add to the many creative awards they have won over the last 10 years.


Councillor Pat Marsh – Elected to Harrogate Borough Council in 1981. Pat was Mayor of the Borough in 2000 and was a long serving chair of the Leisure and Amenity Services Committee. Pat is a member of the Harrogate District Cultural Partnership and has represented the council on the Yorkshire Cultural Consortium and the Yorkshire Sports Executive.


Kate Robey – Operations Manager for Provenance Inns. Kate’s family have lived and been in business locally for the past 40 years in the catering and retail trade. Kate worked in London for Sir Terrance Conran’s restaurant group before returning north to work as a regional manager for Room and Grille restaurants, project managing opening sites in Chester, Manchester, Lincoln as well as Harrogate. Now with Provenance Inns Ltd whose aim is to become a collection of admired North Yorkshire Inns, ‘inns in villages you would like to live in’. They have Inns in Crayke, Felixkirk, Helperby and Marton cum Grafton and are currently progressing plans to redevelop and open their latest offering in Harrogate, the West Park Hotel.



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