VisitLondon chief executive James Bidwell is leaving the tourism body after three years, putting a question mark over the future of the organisation. His departure comes after Bidwell axed London Unlimited in July – the body responsible for building London as a global brand.
Sources suggest that the London Development Agency has been shrinking the size of funding for VisitLondon. A spokesman denies this to be the case and adds:†”Funding for VisitLondon increased last year from £15.2m to just short of £15.5m thus year, an increase of 1.8%.”
VisitLondon works in partnership with the Mayor of London, London Councils and the tourism industry.
Bidwell, who is expected to continue in his current role until the end of the year, will take up the position of managing director for Urban Outfitters’ clothing brand Anthropologie.
The VisitLondon board will meet in October to discuss the recruitment process to find his successor.
Bidwell joined the body, formerly called London Tourist Board, in 2005. Prior to that he was the marketing director at Selfridges.
It is understood that Bidwell will report to Glen Senk, the chief executive of Urban Outfitters. Bidwell will be based at the company’s new London office and oversee the Anthropologie brand across the European market.
London’s tourism industry is worth over £16bn to the local economy and supports over 250,000 fulltime jobs.