British Tourist Authority sets out proposals to deliver on priorities for tourism

Following the good funding settlement for tourism in CSR and the excellent news of the new £40 million Discover England fund and increased funding for the GREAT campaign we are setting our priorities to our staff and how we will structure ourselves to deliver on these. We are working to ensure that both Britain and England activity is focused and aligned, redeploying resources and driving efficiencies to invest in front line activities.

There are several drivers for the changes - there have been changes in our markets and in the way consumers book their travel and consume their media, we have a clear change of focus for VisitEngland, and the Government has asked us to bring the two organisations more closely together.

The priorities continue to be to:

  • Market the nations and regions of Britain overseas to drive growth in international leisure and business tourism
  • Maintain distinct activities to develop and market England tourism

The new BTA organisation will be an integrated business with focused resources and ring fenced budgets for both VisitBritain and VisitEngland, delivered by both dedicated and shared staff. There will be dedicated directors for England and for international markets alongside the CEO and a group of directors representing both Britain and England.

VisitBritain’s international network is widely regarded as a great asset for tourism businesses as well as the nations and regions, delivering a depth of understanding of international customers and markets. We will be investing more in our network, restructuring into four consolidated hubs with central teams that can be flexed across a wider range of markets. More senior people will be employed at the hubs and will take responsibility for key areas such as partnerships and public diplomacy engagement.

VisitEngland’s focus will be on the development and delivery of the Discover England fund for product development to ensure that bookable regional product is being sold in international markets. This activity will also benefit the domestic industry by building engagement and partnerships between and across regions and developing product that will be attractive to both domestic and international markets. The £40 million contestable fund is all to be spent on programme with no administration costs charged by VisitEngland against the programme fund. The England Director will lead on engagement, development and delivery of the fund and the England Action Plan, with an open regional engagement programme running through February and March. Andrew Stokes, previously CEO of Marketing Manchester has been announced today as the interim Director, England.

Digital will be at the heart of marketing with a focus on content creation, curation and distribution for England and Britain. BTA will continue to be an effective GREAT partner working with public diplomacy partners to deliver internationally and the Holidays at Home are GREAT campaign domestically. This marketing to drive the aspiration to travel will be supported by our work with the international travel trade and intermediaries to ensure that customers can easily book regional destinations. And our work will continue to be informed by our knowledge of both domestic and international customers, delivered by dedicated England and Britain research teams.

Business Visits and Events will become a priority area for both VisitEngland and VisitBritain. We will be building a new team delivering an international platform for England and, at a Britain level, working across Government to deliver key industry sector events. Both England and Britain will be on the newly formed cross-Government Business Visits and Events Board.

VisitBritain and VisitEngland have been very successful at building private sector investment to multiply Government’s investment. This activity will be ramped up with the creation of a new directorship in London to build more commercial partnerships, drive growth in retail and leverage the supply side both domestically and internationally. We will be looking to develop more strategic relationships with commercial partners, for example building our marketing relationships to share our knowledge of key customer segments and markets and align product development and distribution with intermediaries.

Working in partnership is absolutely fundamental to everything we do and to recognise this we are investing in a lead for England partner engagement who will ensure that we cultivate strong strategic relationships across the regions. Alongside this is a new team focused on proactive engagement with public diplomacy partners in London and overseas, and with the nations and regions to ensure we deliver on our targets to drive the regional growth of inbound tourism.

The organisation will continue to be supported by a shared business services which will delivery efficiencies through a combination of structural changes, reviewing managed service by third parties and process changes.

We are in the process of consulting with our staff worldwide on the proposed changes and will be running a 30 day internal consultation period. Our final structure will be agreed during February/ March.

We look forward to working with you to ensure we deliver the best outcomes for both England and Britain.