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Deputy Lieutenant Chris Blacksell appointed Chair of Visit Hull and East Yorkshire’s Advisory Board

23 May 2024

Regional tourism partnership Visit Hull and East Yorkshire (VHEY) is delighted to announce the appointment of Chris Blacksell, a Deputy Lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire, as the new Chair of its Advisory Board. 


Having been appointed jointly by Hull City Council, East Riding of Yorkshire Council and the VHEY Advisory Board, Mr Blacksell will officially take up his new role at an exciting time for Visit Hull and East Yorkshire, following its national accreditation by Visit England last year as a Local Visitor Economy Partnership (LVEP).

He brings extensive leadership experience to the role of Chair, having most recently served as Chief Executive and Chief Fire Officer of Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, from 2017 to 2022. In this role, he provided strategic direction and had overall accountability for an emergency service with 1,200 employees based across 35 sites and serving one million people. His responsibilities included delivering safety activities, business support and emergency response, as well as acting as the Regulator and Enforcing Authority for the Fire Safety Act.

Mr Blacksell’s deep connection to Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire, together with his comprehensive understanding of the visitor and tourist economy, makes him an excellent choice for the role of Chair.

He explained: "I have lived and worked in this area all my life, bringing up children and grandchildren here. I wholeheartedly welcome the opportunity to help maximise our incredible offer for visitors, which is something that I’ve always been proud to promote.”

Commenting on his new role, Mr Blacksell added: “I'm honoured to take up the position of Chair of Visit Hull and East Yorkshire’s Advisory Board. I look forward to working with stakeholders across England’s tourism industry to promote and enhance the unique offer of our vibrant region.”

Visit Hull and East Yorkshire’s Advisory Board is a collaboration between private and public sector stakeholders from across Hull and East Yorkshire’s diverse tourism sector. Made up of owners and senior representatives of visitor attractions, hospitality businesses, retailers and travel providers, the board plays a crucial role in the growth and development of the region’s visitor economy. Chairing the board is a pivotal position that contributes to the economic prosperity of the region by uniting stakeholders, fostering collaboration between them and ensuring that VHEY’s strategic initiatives effectively enhance the region’s tourism offer.

Councillor Robert Pritchard, Portfolio Holder for Tourism at Hull City Council, said: ”We are excited to welcome Chris Blacksell as the new Chair of Visit Hull and East Yorkshire’s Advisory Board. His extensive leadership experience and deep-rooted connection to our region make him the ideal person to drive forward the growth and development of our visitor economy."

Councillor Nick Coultish, Portfolio Holder for Tourism at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, agreed: “Chris Blacksell's appointment is a tremendous asset to our tourism sector. His strategic vision and passion for Hull and East Yorkshire will play a crucial role in enhancing our tourism offering. The combined commitment of both local authorities and the advisory board under Chris’s leadership will ensure we continue to grow and develop our fantastic visitor economy.”

Throughout his career, Mr Blacksell has demonstrated impressive leadership skills, successfully steering Humberside Fire and Rescue Service through a period of significant achievement. Under his leadership, the service consistently achieved high ratings across all inspection categories. In fact, Mr Blacksell’s leadership was recognised nationally, and he also chaired the national Executive Leadership Programme Board, which brought together key stakeholders, including  Government departments and the Local Government Association.

Mr Blacksell's role as Chair of the Humber Local Resilience Forum, from 2016 to 2022, further highlighted his ability to build and maintain positive relationships with a diverse range of stakeholders. It involved finding consensus among organisations with different needs. He oversaw the multi-agency planning for, and the response to and recovery from, emergencies, including the Covid-19 pandemic, across four local authority areas, and contributed to an Independent Review of the Civil Contingencies Act.