Christopher Rodrigues, chairman of VisitBritain, has announced the appointment of Sally Balcombe as the organization's next chief executive officer. The appointment follows a "competitive" search and reportedly comes with the full support of all board members.
Previously, Balcombe was managing director of British Airways Holidays and of the specialist sun division at TUI. As commercial director of Opodo and CMO at Travelport, she is familiar with the power of digital and technology to engage and motivate customers. Most recently, Balcombe has been a Board member of VisitBritain, Governor of the Museum of London, Commissioner of English Heritage, and Non-Exec Director of Mr & Mrs Smith while also advising a number of businesses focusing on the digital area.
Rodrigues noted that Britain's inbound tourism figures continue to break records, and the GREAT marketing campaign has proven effective in bringing visitors to the country. "The challenge now is to ensure that inbound tourism, Britain's fifth-largest export industry, continues to deliver jobs and growth across the country in partnership with our strategic partners, the National Tourist Boards," he said.
In a statement, Balcombe said that VisitBritain is already a "high-performing agency" with a clear growth strategy through to 2020. "My commercial experience and time as a Board Member means that I understand the need to focus on our customers, target our marketing to inspire them to explore Britain and work seamlessly across public and private sector partners to ensure we continue to deliver our ambitious plans for growth," she added.
In addition, Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has asked Christopher Rodrigues if he would be willing to continue as Chair beyond the expiry of his current term. Rodrigues has agreed.