STRATFORWARD APPOINTS NEW DIRECTOR TO TAKE ON HIGH STREET CHALLENGE
One of the regions’ top experts has been appointed as the new Director of Stratforward – Stratford’s Business Improvement District.
Joseph Baconnet – a specialist in economic development, town centre management, tourism and planning - was announced as the new boss of the BID at a major regional business and tourism conference yesterday (Monday). Forty-six-year-old Mr Baconnet will take up his appointment on Monday 11 July.
News of his appointment has already been welcomed by business leaders in Stratford and beyond.
Sara Aspley, Chairman of Stratforward and Director of Commercial Services at the Royal Shakespeare Company said:
“This is a real coup for Stratforward and Stratford upon Avon. To have someone with the experience and expertise that Mr Baconnet brings to the table will be a massive boost for the town and the region.”
“Stratford is unique. In essence, it is a working Warwickshire market town with all the issues that such towns face in these challenging economic times, but with the added demands and opportunities that its international status and resulting tourist trade brings. Getting the balance right for local residents, business owners and visitors is no simple task.
“To understand the complexities and nature of this trading environment takes someone special, and I am confident that Mr Baconnet with his in-depth understanding of economic development, planning, management and tourism, coupled with his knowledge of the region and existing relationships with key partners in the patch, makes him perfectly positioned to take on this unique role.”
Mr Baconnet was appointed after a three-month nationwide search for the right person to take on the job after former BID boss Karen Wild left at Easter to take up a new post in Basingstoke.
Speaking yesterday Mr Baconnet said:
“This is such an exciting opportunity during what are truly exciting times. Stratford has been important in history and globally for so long and it is going to be a privilege to help shape its future for generations to come.”
Mr Baconnet was born in Rugby. After school in Northamptonshire he went onto university in Staffordshire and Oxford where he specialised in economic development, town planning and tourism.
He worked in research and economic development in Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire for six years before taking up the post of Town Centre Manager for Warwick and Kenilworth in 1998. When the role was split in 2004 he took on the Kenilworth remit.
In 2010 he was made Economic Development and Regeneration Manager at Warwick District Council and has in recent times played a key role in the development of Shakespeare’s England – the highly regarded Destination Management Organisation for the region.
His appointment was welcomed by Shakespeare’s England at their quarterly Tourism Forum at the British Motor Museum at Gaydon yesterday.
Speaking to an audience that included representatives of key regional tourist attractions, transport providers, accommodation providers, leisure industry experts - as well as representatives from Visit Britain and TripAdvisor - Helen Peters, Chief Executive said:
“Stratford is key to the tourism offer we have in this region, so it is vital that we have the strongest team possible to help build the brand nationally and internationally.
“Inbound Tourism like most industries is extremely competitive. Stratford, Warwickshire and the Midlands are fighting not just on a national stage but an international one to drive visitors to the area.
“Mr Baconnet has been involved with Shakespeare's England since its conception and has also been a lead on the on-going delivery of the Destination Management Plan, a vital component in the future economic planning for the region. As such he has a true understanding of tourism and the value it brings to the regional and national economy. “
Mr Baconnet is married with two young children and lives in Kenilworth
Stratford District Council have also welcomed the appointment
Cllr Dave Riches, Enterprise & Revenues Portfolio for Stratford-on-Avon District Council said:
“He brings a significant amount of experience to the role including an appreciation of the importance of an effective partnership with the local authority. We look forward to working with Joe and the Stratforward team in the future.”