Surprise choice to succeed BHA's Cotton
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Surprise choice to succeed BHA's Cotton

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The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has announced that 38-year-old Ufi Ibrahim will take over from Bob Cotton as the association's new chief executive.

Ibrahim, who is currently the chief operations officer of the London-based World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), will take over from the retiring Cotton on 19 July 2010. Despite her work with the tourism sector, she is largely unknown within the hospitality industry and has no operational experience.

She joined WTTC in 2000 and prior to that received a BA in leisure and tourism management from the London Metropolitan University. She also recently completed a MBA with the Open University.

At WTTC, her role involved working advising on policymaking and the development of planning frameworks in travel and tourism.

Sir David Michels, president of the BHA, said that the association, as a result of Bob Cotton's ten years as chief executive, was very highly regarded.

"Bob Cotton has done a fantastic job in ten years but challenges, of course, remain and new challenges emerge and we move on. Ufi Ibrahim will be able to lead the BHA forward at a key time for both UK tourism and the hospitality industry as the country slowly emerges out of recession".

Ms Ibrahim said she was delighted to be appointed. She said: "Hospitality is a key pillar of Britain's economy, particularly in the long-term.

"I cherish the responsibility to ensure the alignment of public and commercial policy to ensure British hospitality's sustainable success in what is now a highly competitive international tourism industry. I look forward to working with BHA members and UK tourism organisations - and the government - to advance hospitality's role as a generator of employment and prosperity across the United Kingdom".

Dudley Osborn, chair of the BHA's National Executive, added that Ibrahim's experience of domestic and international tourism would greatly benefit the UK's hospitality industry.

"Under her positive leadership, we will campaign with added vigour for the UK government to take tourism more seriously than it does at present," he said.

"This remains one of the BHA's key aims and Ibrahim's appointment emphasises the importance we attach to developing more strategic government support for UK tourism under the new government."

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The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has announced that 38-year-old Ufi Ibrahim will take over from Bob Cotton as the association's new chief executive.
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