The UK office of US tourism marketing agency Brand USA has moved to reassure its industry partners following the departure of the organisation’s chief executive after just a year in the role.
Jim Evans stepped down last week, with Visit California chief executive Caroline Beteta taking over as interim chief executive while a replacement is found.
Although not believed to be linked, Evans’s departure came shortly after Brand USA was asked by six US senators to defend its expenditure on marketing activities including a launch party for 500 guests at last year’s World Travel Market.
In a statement sent to industry partners yesterday, Brand USA’s UK office said: “We would like to reassure you that Brand USA’s commitment to its partners is as strong as ever and we are focused on providing partnership programmes and opportunities that will significantly increase inbound travel to the United States.
“Thank you for your ongoing support for Brand USA. We remain 100% dedicated to you as a Brand USA partner and look forward to continuing our long-term relationship.”
Brand USA is a public-private partnership funded by travel companies and money raised through Esta visa-waiver charges, which was officially launched at WTM in November, 2011.
Its first marketing campaign, unveiled at US trade show International Pow Wow in April, included a three-month multi-media campaign in the UK worth £2.3 million.
Speaking after Evans’s departure was announced, Beteta said: “Brand USA has hit critical milestones in its development and now is at an important transition point.
“Our focus going forward is to build on the momentum the organisation has established by increasing and deepening our partnerships with the travel industry, building out co-op marketing opportunities to attract increased private-sector funding, and enhancing our responsiveness and communications with our government partners.”
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