Kathy Atkinson

CEO, Safer Tourism Foundation


A backpacker at heart, Kathy Atkinson has always assumed she was responsible for her own safety
(and that of her family) when travelling. That doesn’t mean she has always made the best decisions.
This tendency for all of us to think about risk differently when we are on holiday is a continual
fascination for Kathy, who recently completed a Masters’ degree in behaviour change, partly to
better understand people’s approach to risk.
In 2017, Kathy was appointed as Chief Executive Officer for the Safer Tourism Foundation, an
independent charity that aims to prevent serious harm, injury and deaths to people travelling, both
at home and abroad. The Safer Tourism Foundation works in collaboration with a wide range of
partners to develop practical solutions and influence consumer behaviour to help people stay safe
and well on holiday.
Kathy’s career began in the oil industry but that was never where her heart lay, and for most of her
career she has worked for charities and NGOs, in the UK and for a brief period in Nepal. Kathy also
holds Non-Executive Board roles within the UK’s National Health Service and chairs the Board for the
Surrey Hills, a nationally protected landscape. Kathy is an active environmental advocate, recently
leading a campaign to save several ancient beech trees near where she lives in Guildford, UK. She
has also brought together a local community group to protect rare chalk downland from
development. In an ideal world, Kathy would be up a mountain somewhere with her teenage
children, husband, and dog.