Adrian Vinken wins top honour at Devon Tourism Awards

Adrian Vinken

Adrian Vinken CBE DL was presented with the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award’ at the 2023 Devon Tourism Awards ceremony.

Adrian has lived for over 30 years in the South West of England. The former Chair of Destination Plymouth, Mayflower 400 and Director of the Plymouth Sound National Marine Park and The Lowry Salford has been a driving force in both the visitor and cultural sectors in the region.

He was awarded an OBE in 2006 for his leadership of the cultural and creative sector in the South West helping to create the first Cultural Strategy for the region.

In 2018 he was appointed a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the County of Devon and in 2022 he was awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours list.

A founding Director of Sheffield’s Leadmill Theatre in the late 1970’s his pioneering work led to the growth of the cultural industries and connected tourism offer in the city.  He left in 1990 to run one of the region’s most successful and iconic venues, the Theatre Royal in Plymouth.

During this time, apart from presenting nearly 2,000 shows, Adrian was responsible for the development of TR2, the theatre’s unique award-winning Production and Learning Centre on the River Plym and the theatre’s wholesale modernisation in 2013, expanding front of house and catering facilities and creating the building’s third performance space The Lab.

In 2018/19 he oversaw the creation and installation of the controversial ‘Messenger’, the largest bronze sculpture in the UK outside the entrance to TRP.

He joined the Board of Destination Plymouth as a founder member when the company was formed in 2010 and was instrumental in the development of the city’s first ‘Visitor strategy’ embedding culture at the heart of the city’s ambitious growth plans for tourism and the wider visitor economy.

Most recently Adrian was Chair of Destination Plymouth and National Chair for the Mayflower 400 anniversary commemoration of the sailing of the Mayflower in 2020. Adrian retired from the Theatre Royal and Destination Plymouth in December last year.

Adrian says: “It’s a joy to receive this honour and I want to thank all those involved at the Devon Tourism Awards team. Frankly I feel a little embarrassed to be given such an award for, in the end, just simply having the good fortune to enjoy one of the most exciting, varied and fulfilling careers imaginable in such a brilliant city.

“It’s been a privilege to work with my fellow directors and the great executive team at Destination Plymouth, the Leaders and officers at Plymouth City Council and key activists in the area’s cultural sector. Their commitment and advocacy has been responsible for radically transforming Plymouth’s cultural and tourism landscape over the past two decades.

“I wish everyone in the sector every success over the coming years as the city starts to realise all the exciting opportunities that being the UK’s first National Marine Park will bring.”

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