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Discover Ferries appoints new Director and Chair

Discover Ferries appoints Abby Penlington as Director and Nigel Wonnacott as Chair after Emma Batchelor and Kevin George step down.

Abby Penlington has been appointed Director of industry body Discover Ferries.  

Penlington has been Head of Marketing at Discover Ferries since November 2018 and has 14 years’ experience in the cruise and tourism sectors. The move follows Emma Batchelor’s departure in mid-September, after three years at the organisation. 

Discover Ferries represents 13 ferry operators in the UK, Ireland and the British Islands and promotes the benefits of ferry travel to consumers through PR and marketing campaigns including the Big Ferry Fortnight ticket ballot. In 2019 there were over 37 million passenger journeys made by ferry, 8.7m car journeys and more than 137,190 coach journeys*. 

Under Batchelor’s stewardship, the organisation’s membership has grown and become a forum for encouraging best practice, leading operators to adopt more environmental practices and improve accessibility on board for passengers with disabilities. Discover Ferries also delivers consumer awareness campaigns on topics such as Brexit and safe travel during Covid-19. 

Abby Penlington, Director of Discover Ferries comments: “I’m very much looking forward to reaching new-to-ferry travellers to share the comfort, freedom and value afforded by ferry travel at a time when people will be looking harder at their holiday choices. It’s been a pleasure to work alongside Emma and I am excited to continue to champion the ferry sector in these challenging times.”

Penlington’s appointment coincides with Nigel Wonnacott accepting the role of Chair, following Kevin George’s decision to step down after 5 years in the post. 

Wonnacott, who is also Group Head of External Communications at Brittany Ferries, took up the newly-created position of Vice Chair of Discover Ferries in February and the organisation has already benefitted enormously from his extensive experience within the continental ferry sector, at what has been a difficult time for the industry.  

Nigel Wonnacott, Chair of Discover Ferries, says: “I want to thank Kevin for his great contribution and commitment in leading Discover Ferries to becoming an effective platform to promote ferry travel. I’m very much looking forward to building on his success and taking the organisation forward at a time when coming together as an industry is more important than ever”.

Sep 10 2020

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