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Keith Thomas

Chief Executive

Keith is Chief Executive of Petersham Group, a company he co-founded with Jonathan Rounce in 2003. He has over 30 years of experience working across the Experience Economy, and has been responsible for the development and management of many successful leisure businesses, cultural destinations and visitor attractions,

Keith is widely known for his experience and knowledge of project development and operational management across the Experience Economy. His career in the sector started in the mid-1980s, managing a series of visitor attractions before taking on responsibility as Development Director for the roll-out of Sea Life Centre aquariums and other visitor attractions across the UK and Continental Europe for Vardon Attractions (now Merlin Entertainments). Going on to join London-based consultancy, Grant Leisure Group, he worked internationally on projects as diverse as International Expos, Theme Parks and Zoos before establishing Petersham Group in 2003, where he and his colleagues have completed over 90 consulting projects across the world for clients.

Assignments include feasibility studies and business planning, concept development, operational management, fundraising, strategic plans and restructuring.

Keith is also Managing Director of reefLIVE Ltd. established to design and bring to market an aquarium concept for a 21st Century audience. Their first project, in Belfast, recently secured planning permission and is anticipated on site next year.

Amongst many other projects undertaken for Petersham Group, highlights have included:

  • Frameless‘ by Immersive Galleries, London: Providing business planning & managing booking / CMS tender for new digital arts attraction, due to open in the West End in October 2022
  • ‘Afunda O Barco’ , Algarve, Portugal. Business planning & concept development for a new day-visit dive resort, to be located in the sea over 10 new artificial reefs based on sinking repurposed naval ships.
  • Guide Dogs for the Blind (UK): Business & operational planning for the development of a new national visitor centre for one of the UK’s leading charitable trusts
  • Delivering a Feasibility study for a ‘Madame Tussauds-style’ waxworks attraction for leading leisure and real estate developer/ operator, Vingroup in Phu Quoc, Vietnam;
  • Master planning the leisure and entertainment elements of Il Galala Sokhna, a new luxury resort being developed on the Al-Sokhna coast in Egypt.

Keith has undertaken many projects from concept, through development, to launch and beyond, and is particularly experienced in the organisational and contractual structuring of development projects and with the associated procurement arrangements that need to be put in place. These are vital areas in the successful delivery of projects, both in terms of time and budget, and Keith’s experience in this area is therefore widely sought.

Regularly invited to speak at leisure industry conferences, his views are much sought by colleagues in the sector and he regularly blogs on leading industry websites such as Blooloop . He is a guest lecturer for the postgraduate MA Tourism Business at the University of Exeter, teaching the consultancy module of the course.


Keith is a seasoned professional, with a high sense of professionalism and attention to detail. As a consultant Keith has a very rare quality: he listens to clients and tells them what they have to hear rather than what they expect to hear. His knowledge of the attractions industry is outstanding and his project management skills are first class.
Main Board Director, Blandy Group, Portugal
Keith has an ability to very quickly understand both the client’s aspirations and the project’s requirements, even though at times they are potentially very different. Helping to formulate initial briefs with clients and then facilitating / mediating project briefings and presentations, allows Keith to create an initial momentum for projects that keeps them on schedule and ensures that all subsequent communications are understood, well informed and accurately recorded.
Partner, PKF (Madeira)
Keith’s inputs have enabled me to very quickly move through the interpretive design process, providing opportunities to create exciting and innovative design solutions on time and on budget. Perhaps just as important to all of this is the fact that it has been a pleasure to work with Keith over the past 6 years and I hope to continue to do so for as long as is possible.
Creative Director, Haley Sharpe Designs Ltd
Keith is the go to man for the leisure industry. I have been extremely impressed with his depth of knowledge in his chosen field whether that be operational support, concept development of funding. He is very personable and I have enjoyed partnering with him and the Petersham Group on various projects.
Director, The Cutting Edge Ltd
Keith is professional trainer and client oriented consultant. Keith is also reliable partner in business. We enjoyed partnership with Petersham Group in training key personell of major tourism attractions in Estonia.
Partner/Senior consultant at BDA Consulting (Estonia)
Thank you Keith for your hard work as chairman, all the promotion you did and your inspiring presentation.

We really appreciated it that you came over again this year to help us make the Leisure Business Days program a success.

Senior consultant at KWAN Leisure (Netherlands)


Keith Thomas

BSc Honours (University of London) Biology


An experienced Development and Operations Director with boardroom experience with leading leisure companies who has gone on to work across the international leisure & hospitality industry at progressively senior levels embracing operations, general management, strategic planning, project development and management consultancy.
General management and board level roles in Operations and subsequently, Development with Sea Life Centres and Vardon Attractions (now Merlin Entertainment). Subsequently, leisure consultancy posts with Grant Leisure Group Ltd before joining Petersham Group and becoming Chief Executive.
Peter Tavy
PL19 9NP
T. +44 (0)1822 810460
M. +44 (0)7739 386397
S. keiththomaspetersham


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