Sandie Dawe has been appointed chief executive of VisitBritain.
The promotion from her role as deputy chief executive has taken place with immediate effect. Former chief executive Tom Wright announced his departure in November 2008.
VisitBritain chairman Christopher Rodrigues said: "The nomination committee interviewed a number of skilled candidates and was unanimous in its view that Sandie has the best combination of knowledge, experience, insight, creativity and leadership skills to do the job.
"More importantly, in Sandie these skills are combined with a passion for promoting Britain and its nations and regions, which the board regards as an essential quality in the VisitBritain chief executive."
Dawe added: "It will be a real privilege to lead VisitBritain in its support of the tourism industry in the toughest economic climate in years, to win market share for Britain and to ensure that tourism is recognised as an important British industry."
Meanwhile, the tourism agency is launching a campaign in partnership with Virgin Atlantic in a bid to entice more Americans to visit the UK.
The $1 million Get More Britain For Your Buck campaign aims to highlight the ease of visiting British attractions to the US market, following a 11.5% fall in visits to the UK in the last five years.
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