In Memory of Chris Martins

Wednesday August 08, 2018

One of the industry’s most brilliant and creative individuals has died after a battle with cancer. Chris Martins, aged 71, died last week after a career full of creative ideas.

Chris worked for the British Tourist Authority and British Transport Hotels in sales. He was renowned for cold calling on every business across the industrial estates of Slough and elsewhere, which was a tough grounding for a successful career.

In the 70’s, he was appointed Director of Tourism for Bournemouth and York before establishing his own PR agency in the tourism sector, Influential Concepts and Communications, with Jan as the engine room of the business, organising him as best as anyone could.

His work was in tourism, hotels and the event industry. In tourism destinations he devised many of the original theme tourism marketing and PR campaigns all over the UK. He has been described by Martin Lewis, the leading publisher and commentator in the event Industry as ‘one of the industry’s most brilliant and creative individuals. He had the most inventive marketing mind I have encountered and this, combined with an almost manic devotion to his work, produced extraordinarily effective media and marketing campaigns. During the past 35 years the cleverest press releases to cross my desk came from his pen. He dreamed up madcap campaign ideas and knew how to give them life’.

Chris was a long-standing member of the Tourism Society. He became an agent of change by assisting with ideas to boost membership of the organisation in the early 2000’s and together with myself and our late colleague, Steve Price, established the Tourism Society Yorkshire Chapter.

He was a most persuasive character and often people in both business and personal relationships found themselves agreeing to do something that they fiercely resented. Chris was adamant that his way was best – and it often was, though not always. Chris was the ultimate Marmite man – you loved him or hated him.

He was very generous with both his time and money, sharing his knowledge and wisdom with others, even if they did not want to hear it and making generous donations to many charities. He had pet subjects that he corralled us into helping with, like collecting ‘droppings’ of coins from the floor in public places, which he did everywhere and one year collected and then donated £1000 to charity. He had an on going campaign to influence the GNER Railway, once gaining a meeting with the company’s ceo and presented him with 101 ways to improve the railway, only the 101st of which was to run on time! 

After he retired from his business he took up his hobby of archaeology seriously and gained a postgraduate degree. He also devoted considerable time to voluntary work with The Princes Trust where he mentored more than 100 young people over many years.

During the last few years, he focused on caring for Jan, ensuring they spent time out and about often every day, whether going to concerts, visiting a local attraction or having tea at Betty’s.

His introvert nature continued through his illness, telling only a tiny circle of his closest friends about his circumstances.

The funeral will take place at 12.20 pm on Tuesday 14 August at Harrogate Crematorium, Wetherby Road, Harrogate HG3 1DE. Friends will gather afterwards to celebrate his life. For details, contact Peter Rand at

John Gallery FTS