VisitBritain to cut jobs and refocus

VisitBritain is to axe up to 30% of its workforce and implement other cost-cutting measures.

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The changes come following a budget cut of 34% for the organisation in the Government spending review last October.

In line with its budget cut, it will axe an estimated 70 posts across Communications, Finance, HR and IT. Consultations are expected to run until the end of April.

VisitBritain says that the increasing use of digital channels will allow it to maintain a “global footprint” but to cut costs it will reduce its presence from 35 overseas markets to 21, based in 24 key cities. These markets account for 80% of inbound tourism.

The body will lessen its involvement in business tourism and let the national tourist boards take up this remit.

It is also axing the Britain and London Visitor Centre in London’s Regent Street once the lease expires and is looking to other agencies to provide tourist information in London.

The tourism body is still committed to delivering a four year global marketing campaign leveraging the Royal Wedding, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics next year.

The campaign will be jointly-funded by the Government and by the tourism industry. Companies including British Airways, DFDS (ferries), lastminute.com, P&O and Radisson Edwardian have now pledged cash and payment in kind.

VisitBritain’s central marketing team will work on the global marketing plan, focusing on developing partnerships and digital, social media and PR channels.

The body will also continue to provide research and market intelligence and analysis to the industry and the Government.

It is to continue to develop its online retail service “to deliver a commercial dividend” to the organisation and tourism industry suppliers.

CEO Sandie Dawe says: “This proposed new structure and focus reflects our priorities and is in line with our four-year funding settlement. Our goal is to maximise the tourism opportunities of hosting a raft of major iconic events over the next two years.

“We need to ensure that this clarity of focus is supported by the right structure and skills. I have every confidence in the professionalism and passion of my team to deliver on our ambitions and for our partners and the whole tourism industry”.

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