A York hotelier who has spent more than two decades in the industry has taken over the helm of a leading city tourism body.
Graham Usher, the general manager of the BEST WESTERN Monkbar Hotel – which is currently undergoing a £3 million transformation – has become chairman of York Hoteliers’ Association, which represents more than 20 establishments across the historic city.
He takes over the role from Tony Furlong, the manager of the Royal York Hotel, who has held the title during this year. He in turn succeeded Lionel Chatard, the director and manager of Middlethorpe Hall, who was association chairman for two years.
Mr Usher said: “Whilst we are all in competition, we all have a vested interest to ensure that when it comes to leisure and business tourists, York is the number one destination.
“And, to help sway their decision, we need to ensure we have a collection of first class hotels that will cater for a wealth of people – from individual travelers’ right through to conference organisers looking to host a major event in the city.
“My aim is to continue the superb work of my predecessors and to make sure the association provides a strong voice for the city’s hotel industry.
“I will be working closely with colleagues in Visit York and City of York Council to ensure we are united in our efforts in selling the city locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.”
Mr Usher added: “Over the last few years we have come through a tough recession which had a big impact on our trade.
“However, we have seen a real boost thanks the Olympics, this year’s Tour de France and major investment in a number of establishments, including my own.
“Our industry provides jobs for thousands of people and a thriving hotel trade helps significantly to boost the local economy, which in turn supports many other businesses including retail, bars, restaurants and attractions in the city.
“I’m very proud to have become chairman of York Hoteliers’ Association and I look forward to following in Tony’s and Lionel’s footsteps.”