Leonard John “Len” Lickorish, CBE (10 August 1921 – 19 May 2002) worked for the British Travel Association for 40 years, during which time he became Director General and oversaw the enormous growth in tourist visits to the UK.
Len was educated at St George’s College, Weybridge and graduated from University College, London with a degree in Economics in 1941. Immediately afterwards, he served as an RAF pilot until the end of the Second World War. Following the war, he set up the research department at the fledgling British Travel and Holidays Association which then had a staff of six. He worked in Europe to help re-establish the International Union of Official Travel Organisations (IUOTO) which later became the World Tourism Organisation. In 1962, he became the British Travel and Holidays Association’s General Manager, and in 1969 was appointed its first Director General when it became the British Tourist Authority (BTA) under the Development of Tourism Act.
During Len’s time at the BTA, inbound tourism rose from 203,000 visits in 1946 to almost 14 million in 1986, the year of his retirement. In his years as Director General, he was responsible for extending the BTA’s activities overseas to more than 20 countries. Through the BTA’s various committees and other key avenues Len pursued at home and in Europe with the aim of encouraging market growth, he became well known to the leading players in the UK tourism trade and was a highly respected figure.
After he retired, Len remained active in many voluntary roles, and wrote books and journal articles about the travel industry. He was made an Officer of the Crown of Belgium, and was awarded the CBE in 1975 and was honoured by the Hall of Fame in 1999.