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John Williams

John Williams

Issue 2: Featured Ambassador

We are delighted to have been able to garner support and enthusiasm from a number of key people who are now Accentuate Ambassadors. They represent a variety of sectors but one thing unites them: their commitment to the core values of the Accentuate programme and that they are high profile leaders within their fields.

In this edition we are pleased to feature John Williams, the Chair of Tourism South East. John has a professional background in marketing and corporate communications. He co-founded the leading UK public relations company, Fishburn Hedges, where he was Managing Director and later Chairman, advising on reputation and branding for companies, government departments and not-for-profit organisations. He is a former Charity Commissioner and serves on the board of Business in the Community.

John has helped promote disability issues and changing attitudes and behaviour through his professional work: he was for some years communications adviser to the Employers’ Forum on Disability, he has advised the Guide Dogs charity on managing change and led the external team that transformed the Spastics Society into Scope.

“I am really pleased to be able to serve as an Ambassador; this is a hugely significant programme for Tourism South East; the region includes the birthplace of the Paralympic movement (at Stoke Mandeville in 1948), so it is a natural ambition for the South East to become the most welcoming and accessible tourist destination in the country, especially in the run up to the 2012 Games. We are working on practical help through audits, training and better targeted marketing, but we also simply want to raise the profile of disabled visitors and their families as a market too big to ignore.”

TSE champions and supports tourism businesses, local authorities and destinations from Margate to Milton Keynes through marketing, business advice, skills and training, market intelligence, strategic planning and product development. Tourism South East is committed to making the South East the most accessible and welcoming region in the country, drawing on the unique heritage of the Paralympic Games, founded in the region.

Destination Zones is the Accentuate project which is being delivered by TSE. This project sets out to provide detailed access audits alongside Welcome All training and then explore the best ways of promoting accessible locations in an accurate and informed way to disabled visitors and their families. We are pleased that Kent County Council has recently signed up for audits on four of their key towns and we will be following this progress through the website as the project develops.

We are delighted to welcome John as an Accentuate Ambassador and we will be keeping him up to date with Realise! Campaign! Youth Screen; Destination Zones; Creative Landscapes; Go public; Major events; Paralympic Region; Celebrate as he has particularly expressed an interest in these projects.

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