Patricia Yates is VisitBritain/VisitEngland’s new interim CEO
Patricia Yates

Patricia Yates is VisitBritain/VisitEngland’s new interim CEO

TORONTO — VisitBritain/VisitEngland has appointed Patricia Yates as interim CEO ahead of Sally Balcombe’s final day as CEO on April 8.

Yates, who previously served as Deputy CEO, said she is honoured to take on the role, in which she will focus on building back visitor spend “as quickly as possible” and support the UK Government’s Tourism Recovery Plan.

“I look forward to continuing to working with all our stakeholders, rebuilding our industry to ensure it is one of the most successful and productive sectors of the economy, and to making the strongest possible case for one of the UK’s greatest sectors,” said Yates.

“We know there is pent-up demand for travel, Britain is a destination that people want to visit and in 2022 we have a year of landmark events. Our tourism businesses have innovated to survive through a myriad of restrictions and now is the time to drive the visitor recovery,” she added.

British Tourist Authority (BTA) Chair Dame Judith Macgregor said that Yates’ appointment will help ensure a smooth transition for the organization and tourism industry as a whole.

“Under Patricia’s leadership and experience, I am confident that we can make great progress as we continue to support the industry as recovery begins to get underway,” said Macgregor.

Yates’ appointment was announced at a ‘Rebooting the visitor economy’ event on March 29, where VisitBritain/VisitEngland outlined its focus to ensure tourism rebounds once again. VisitBritain’s latest forecast estimates 21.1 million inbound tourism visits to the UK this year, representing 52% of the 2019 level, and overseas visitor spending of £16.9 billion, 59% of 2019. With all travel restrictions for arrivals to the UK now lifted, VisitBritain’s priority is to drive the quickest return of inbound visitor spending, competing for international visitors who contribute billions to the economy.

The agency has launched a £10 million GREAT ‘Welcome to another side of Britain’ campaign in international markets, which promotes major events scheduled to take place this year. These include  HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

VisitBritain is also working with the travel trade to ensure that British programs are thriving and Britain’s tourism offer is being sold international. In addition to leisure travel, the agency is focused on rebuilding the business events industry, enabling destinations to win international conferences and exhibitions.

Other key areas of focus include a sustainable tourism strategy for England, aiding the growth of small businesses, and investing in building digital and data capabilities to remain competitive in the digital world.

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