Ian Stephens has worked with Cumbria Tourism for over 25 years and joined the University of Cumbria in 2018 as a Professor of Practice where he has been advising on the development of visitor economy studies, encouraging and facilitating business and industry engagement and supporting the promotion and marketing of visitor economy courses and related activities.  

After obtaining a Degree and Post Graduate Diploma in Town Planning from Oxford Brookes University Ian worked for the Sports Council giving development advice on sports facilities and then moved to a fast-moving marketing agency in London to develop his branding, sales promotion and advertising knowledge.  In 1999 he relocated to Cumbria to work as the Operations Director for the then Regional Tourist Board, one of ten regional tourist boards (or Destination Management Organisations) in England. 

In 2004 he became the Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism where his remit was to direct and implement the strategy for the development of the visitor economy in Cumbria through a range of economic, strategic marketing and research initiatives that included a number of funding applications related to destination management and marketing.  The most significant funding application secured £500,000 which was invested in the development of new technology, eMarketing campaigns, raising awareness of Cumbria internationally and defining the brand, local assets and authentic experiences.  As Managing Director of Cumbria Tourism he also gave lectures to the Royal College of Defence Studies, Lancaster University and the University of Oxford Human Sciences faculty. 

Ian has a particular in interest in market research and evidence based plans and strategies; he also a keen advocate of Cumbria’s thematic tourism priorities namely, sustainable tourism, adventure, food and cultural tourism and how these contribute to the development of communities and the local economy.