VisitEngland chief executive James Berresford is to leave the organisation in the new year.
Berresford has been chief executive of VisitEngland for six years, and his decision to leave follows the government’s decision to more closely align VisitBritain and VisitEngland following this autumn’s spending review.
Berresford’s departure was announced in a statement from Visit Britain chief executive Sally Balcombe, who paid tribute to him for his “knowledge, engagement and passion for the England Tourism sector”.
She added: “I would like to thank him on behalf of the whole English Tourism industry for his work and commitment.”
The government’s decision to bring much of VisitEngland’s work within the VisitBritain remit has raised concerns among tourism bodies which fear VisitEngland’s work to drive domestic tourism will become marginalised.
However, Balcombe insisted that would not be the case.
She said: “The financial settlement outlined in the spending review, with core budgets unchanged, an additional £40 million for the Discover England Fund and an uplift in the GREAT monies was extremely positive, and a real endorsement of the value of the whole tourism sector.
“Whilst we continue to develop our thinking, I wanted to confirm that we have already set out that funding for VisitEngland will be ring-fenced for England. There will continue to be a separate VisitEngland brand, with staff dedicated to the delivery of England activity and England Action Plan, as well as liaison with English destinations.”
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