Marketing Manchester chief executive, Andrew Stokes, has been named as new interim director, England, for the British Tourist Authority (BTA).
The announcement comes as the BTA sets out proposals on how VisitBritain and VisitEngland are going to be brought closer together to deliver on the government’s priorities for tourism.
The changes will ensure that the BTA continues to market the nations and regions of the UK overseas to grow international tourism, as well as maintaining distinct activities to develop and market England tourism with greater coordination across the industry.
Stokes will lead on the development and delivery of the new £40 million ‘Discover England Fund’ announced by the government as part of last year’s spending review.
The fund is specifically for England tourism development to ensure that ‘bookable’ regional offerings are being sold in international markets.
This is set to also benefit the domestic tourism industry by building engagement and partnerships across regions and developing tourism that will be attractive to domestic as well as international markets.
Stokes, whose new role will report to BTA chief executive, Sally Balcombe, will also be responsible for developing an English Action Plan focused on the Discover England Fund and on business visits and events for England tourism.
He will support Balcombe with an external regional engagement programme to run throughout February and March this year.
Balcombe said: “He brings a wealth of skills, experience and industry contacts to the role making him a powerful voice for England as we focus on the government’s priorities set out in the CSR settlement.
“Our ambition is to spread the economic benefits of tourism across the English regions focusing on product development, building partnerships and greater co-ordination across the industry.”
Stokes said: “I am delighted to be taking up this position working with Sally and the VisitEngland and VisitBritain teams at this important moment for English tourism.
“I look forward to meeting many of the English tourism stakeholders at the regional engagement programme for the Discover England Fund in the next few weeks.”
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