The travel trade is losing a charismatic and high profile tourism icon, and stand by for more superlatives... writes Steve Reed of Steve Reed Tourism. For that’s the opinion of many in the tourism industry when the name Diana Roberts of Visit Guildford is mentioned.

Diana is retiring from the position of Tourism Marketing and Development Manager for Guildford Borough Council after many years of great service for the town in Surrey. She’s been called ‘Queen of Guildford’ and a ‘force of nature’ and they’re sentiments that Steve Reed Tourism and many others in this wonderful industry would agree with. Judith and I moved down south from Northumberland almost ten years ago hoping to continue the group travel activity we’d established back in 1999 – and Guildford was our first project in the south.

Ever since we’ve learnt that it’s enough to simply name-drop ‘Diana’ – just the Christian name suffices – and suddenly hotels, event organisers, attractions and all sorts of tourism businesses start to take an interest. They have to! That’s what I call leadership. Diana gets great backing from Guildford Borough Council – members and officers – and it certainly shows. Guildford has arguably punched above its weight nationally and is nowadays well known as a top group travel destination, not to mention a growing magnet for other tourist types. A special word though for her successful and award winning TIC, right on the cobbled high street. The team thrive under her management and the centre is a vital hub for tourism not just in Guildford but for the wider area.

It’s not over the top to say her efforts to promote tourism into Guildford have borne fruit for its many tourism businesses. Diana is inspiring in this way – attending most of the trade shows, advertising in the travel trade media and always engaging in social media.  And of course arranging FAM visits, launches and showcases. All activities very much geared towards creating actual group bookings.

They say that nothing stays the same and things always change. So fingers crossed for Guildford in finding a successor and good luck to the truly respected and unique personality that is Diana Roberts.

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