Thursday, January 21, 2016

Jobs at risk as VisitBritain and VisitEngland told to share resources

VisitBritain and VisitEngland are to become one integrated business under the British Tourist Authority following a request by the Government for the two organisations to be brought more closely together.

BTA chief executive Sally Balcombe said they would remain as two separate brands with ring-fenced budgets, but will share corporate resources and services with front-line activity delivered by both dedicated and shared staff.

A spokeswoman said that as a result of the plans several dozen jobs were at risk.

"There are changes in all the departments in London and we are structuring the global network so it's fair to say that the whole organisation is affected in one way or another.

"Within the new structure there are new jobs and opportunities for staff. We will consult over the next month to ensure all staff are treated fairly and to minimise compulsory redundancies. Across both organisations we have 44 people at risk, 20 at risk and in a pool, and 188 who are being transferred or whose jobs are unaffected. We have 64 vacancies."

The BTA has started a 30-day consultation period with VisitEngland and VisitBritain staff, both in the UK and internationally, with the aim of agreeing the organisational structure by the end of March.

It is proposing to have dedicated directors for England and for international markets alongside the CEO and a group of directors representing both Britain and England.

Andrew Stokes, the chief executive of Marketing Manchester, has today been confirmed as interim director, England.

VisitBritain will be investing more in its international network, said the BTA, 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 a new £40 million Discover England Fund for product development to ensure that bookable regional product is being sold in international markets, said the BTA.

Stokes, who is credited with transforming Marketing Manchester from a tourism-focused body to one working across sectors responsible for branding, promotion and marketing the city, will be responsible for development and delivery of the fund, which was announced by the Government in last year's spending review.

Digital will be at heart of marketing focusing on content creation, curation and distribution for England and Britain, said the BTA, which will continue to be a partner of the Government's GREAT campaign.

Business visits and events are to become a priority for both VisitEngland and VisitBritain, it said, and both will be on the newly formed cross-Government Business Visits and Events Board. 

A new directorship will be created in London to build more commercial partnerships, it added.
Thursday, January 21, 2016

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