The English Riviera Destination Management Group (DMG) has elected a new chairperson to lead and support the group over the next 12 months.

Lynn Stephens, senior curriculum head of leisure and hospitality industries at South Devon College, has been part of the DMG for over a year, working with other partners on developing a successful visitor economy.

The DMG oversees the delivery of the English Riviera Destination Management Plan (DMP), and its actions, by working collaboratively in partnership across the destination.

The DMP presents clear priorities and actions for the different stakeholders involved to take Torbay as a destination forward with its shared vision to develop the English Riviera’s visitor economy.

Lynn is recognised as someone who has made significant impact in some of the key areas of focus in the sector. Under Lynn’s leadership, the college has achieved a number of milestones.

Earlier this year, South Devon College was nationally recognised for its outstanding contribution to the development of apprenticeships. This significant achievement represents a successful collaboration between DMG partners, aligning curriculum to the English Riviera UNESCO Global Geopark.

Lynn explained: “This award recognises the collaboration the college has with the DMG and supporting partners. Our apprenticeship offer aligns itself with strategic programmes, namely Torbay’s Destination Management Plan and the successful ‘Opportunities through Apprenticeships’ pilot.”

The college has also recently introduced a new hospitality manager higher apprenticeship programme, in response to £120m investment in Torbay from the Fragrance Group, which will see hotel chains Mercure, Ibis and Hilton open in Torbay over the next two years.

Working with Martin Rogers, managing director at GH&L Consultancy, acting on behalf of Fragrance Group, the college is looking to develop partnerships and qualification opportunities for local people to ensure the workforce are ready for the new hotels in the area.

Kayleigh Ryan, talent acquisition director for Northern Europe with Accor, has also been supporting the college to develop pipeline staffing talent for the Mercure and the Ibis Styles, which will be creating approximately 150 job opportunities across reservations, reception, facilities, maintenance and food and beverage.

Swithin Long, Cabinet member for housing, regeneration and tourism, said: “The English Riviera Destination Management Group is making great strides to promote Torbay as a destination and develop the visitor economy.

“Lynn’s appointment will further support the direction of the group, strengthen the work with partners and focus on the delivery of the Destination Management Plan.

“By attracting new visitors and increasing our year-round visitor numbers the Group and Plan will support Torbay’s economic recovery and growth.”

Rebecca Davies, senior economic development officer at TDA, and DMG co-ordinator said: “I’m delighted that Lynn has been voted in as the new chairperson.

“Lynn is perfectly placed for the role and has the drive and enthusiasm to take the DMG forward. Torbay has new opportunities and challenges to overcome, with Lynn’s leadership I believe we can make things happen, supporting our ‘Torbay Together’ mission.”