Patricia Yates to Step Up as Interim CEO of VisitBritain

VisitBritain/VisitEngland has announced that its deputy CEO, Patricia Yates, is stepping up to CEO. The interim appointment comes as the agency’s current CEO Sally Balcombe steps down from April 8.

The appointment was announced as VisitBritain/VisitEngland convened tourism industry leaders at a recent “Rebooting the visitor economy” event, outlining its focus to ensure tourism rebounds to become one of most productive sectors of the U.K. economy.

Dame Judith Macgregor, British Tourist Authority (BTA) chair, said, “On behalf of the BTA Board and VisitBritain/VisitEngland, I am very pleased to announce that Patricia Yates has agreed to step up to CEO in the interim, ensuring a smooth transition for the organization as well as for the industry. 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.”

Patricia Yates, deputy CEO of VisitBritain/VisitEngland, said, “I am honored to be stepping up as CEO, continuing our focus on building back visitor spend as quickly as possible and supporting the industry, playing our part to deliver the ambitions of the U.K. Government’s Tourism Recovery Plan.”

VisitBritain’s latest forecast estimates 21.1 million inbound tourism visits to the U.K. this year, 52 percent of the 2019 level, and overseas visitor spending of £16.9 billion (about $22.2 billion), 59 percent of 2019. With travel restrictions for arrivals to the U.K. lifted and with its latest international research showing strong pent-up demand for travel, VisitBritain’s priority is driving the quickest return of inbound visitor spending, prioritizing markets that will quickly drive back value including the U.S. and its major European markets, competing hard for international visitors who contribute billions to the economy.

Besides leisure travel, VisitBritain will support the business events industry to recover and rebuild, enabling destinations to win international conferences and exhibitions. Sustainability will be a thread through all this activity. VisitEngland will champion a sustainable tourism strategy for England, working to harness the industry’s collective impact. It also continues its support to small businesses.

Tourism is usually worth more than £127 billion (about $166.6 billion) to the economy, its third largest service export and a major part of British trade, supporting hundreds of thousands of small businesses and entrepreneurs and employing more than 3.1 million people across the U.K.

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