Lady Cobham, chair of VisitEngland, paid a visit to Durham yesterday and was keynote speaker at Visit County Durham’s annual Tourism Forum. Lady Cobham, who was visiting the county as part of English Tourism Week celebrations, addressed tourism businesses and industry representatives from across the county at Ushaw on Thursday (March 30th).

The outgoing chair, who leaves her post at the official tourist board for England today, expressed her delight at visiting Durham during English Tourism Week which celebrates the vibrancy and quality of England’s visitor experiences and world-renowned tourist attractions.

During her day in Durham, Lady Cobham enjoyed a tour of Beamish Museum where she met representatives of the award-winning attraction.

The focus of the Visit County Durham forum was ‘what makes Durham special’ and featured presentations from Chris Woodley-Stewart, director of the North Pennines AONB & UNESCO Global Geopark, and Ruth Robson, head of marketing and events at Durham Cathedral, both of whom highlighted the importance of UNESCO designations for the county. Lady Cobham talked about the £40m Discover England Fund which is set to develop new tourism product through projects which feature Durham. The event ended with an introduction to the exciting new place brand for the county by Michelle Gorman, managing director of Visit County Durham, who spoke about Durham Place of Light.

About 80 delegates attended the popular annual event which was hosted by Ivor Stolliday, chairman of Visit County Durham.

Michelle Gorman said: “It was wonderful to have Lady Cobham speak at our Tourism Forum in her last days as chair of VisitEngland and share her extensive expertise on tourism – and, of course, her love of Durham. The event was very well attended, as ever, and every speaker gave informative and inspiring presentations, which were well received.”