Former MD of BA Holidays appointed chief executive of VisitBritain

24 July 2014 by
Former MD of BA Holidays appointed chief executive of VisitBritain

One-time managing director of British Airways Holidays Sally Balcombe has been appointed chief executive of the in-bound tourism body, VisitBritain.

She replaces Sandie Dawe, who has stepped down from the role after five years in the post.

Balcombe, who was appointed a board member of VisitBritain last year, will be tasked with ensuring inbound tourism continues to grow across Britain and delivers new jobs. In particular, she is expected to use her strong digital and commercial experience to drive forward the number of overseas visitors.

Balcombe, said: "VisitBritain is already a high-performing agency with a clear growth strategy for Britain through to 2020.

"My commercial experience and time as a board member means that I understand the need to focus on our customers, target our marketing to inspire them to explore Britain and work seamlessly across public and private sector partners to ensure we continue to deliver our ambitious plans for growth."

Meanwhile, Christopher Rodrigues - who is due to complete a second four-year term as chairman of VisitBritain in January 2015 - has agreed to continue in his role for the immediate future.

He said that Balcombe is taking on "the most exciting" tourism marketing job in the world. "Sally inherits a great team, and an organisation that has shown it can deliver results and ensure Britain remains competitive in international markets.

"Our inbound tourism figures continue to break records and the GREAT marketing campaign continues to raise the aspiration to travel to Britain. Our partnership marketing campaigns deliver the great deals that turn aspiration into bookings. The challenge now is to ensure that inbound tourism, Britain's fifth largest export industry, continues to deliver jobs and growth across the country in partnership with our strategic partners, the National Tourist Boards."

Balcombe has recently held a variety of positions, including governor of the Museum of London, commissioner of English Heritage, and non-executive director of Mr & Mrs Smith, whilst also advising a number of businesses focusing on the digital area.

From 2008 to 2011 Balcombe was chief marketing officer for Travelport GDS. Previously she was previously commercial and product director at Opodo, the pan-European on-line travel agency, (2004-2006; managing director of the TUI-owned Specialist Sun Holiday Group (2001-2003); and managing director of British Airways Holidays (1990-2001).

New chief executive of VisitBritain sought >>

Rodrigues appointed for second term as VisitBritain chairman >>

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