More than 40 jobs are at risk as part of a shake-up of UK tourism bodies with compulsory redundancies not ruled out.
VisitBritain and VisitEngland will remain separate brands with ring-fenced budgets but will be one integrated business under the British Tourist Authority (BTA).
The proposals have been communicated to all BTA staff across VisitEngland and VisitBritain this week, including internationally, with a 30-day internal global consultation period now underway.
The final organisational structure is set to be agreed during February and March.
A spokesperson said: “Within the new structure there are new jobs and opportunities for staff. We will consult over the next month to ensure all staff are treated fairly and to minimise compulsory redundancies.
“Across both organisations we have 44 people at risk, 20 at risk and in a pool, and 188 who are being transferred or whose jobs are unaffected. We have 64 vacancies.”
The changes follow last year’s funding settlement for tourism in the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review, including a new £40 million Discover England Fund and increased funding for the GREAT campaign.
The BTA said that “the underlying principles are to ensure that both Britain and England activity is focused and aligned, redeploying resources and driving efficiencies to invest in front-line activities”.
It added that there have been changes in markets and in the way consumers book their travel and consume their media, there is a clear change of focus for VisitEngland, and the government has asked the two organisations to be brought more closely together.
The proposed new structure will see the two orgaisations sharing corporate resources and services with front-line activity delivered by both dedicated and shared staff.
There will be dedicated directors for England and for international markets alongside the CEO and a group of directors representing both Britain and England.
VisitBritain will be investing more in its international network, restructuring into four consolidated hubs with central teams that can be flexed across a wider range of markets.
More senior people will be employed at the hubs and will take responsibility for key areas such as partnerships and public diplomacy engagement.
VisitEngland will focus on the development and delivery of the Discover England Fund for tourism development to ensure that bookable regional offerings are being sold in international markets.
“This activity will also benefit the domestic industry by building engagement and partnerships between and across regions and developing product that will be attractive to both domestic and international markets,” the BTA said.
Digital will be at heart of marketing focusing on content creation, curation and distribution for England and Britain.
The BTA will continue to be a partner of the government’s GREAT campaign working to deliver international marketing campaigns as well as the ‘Holidays at Home are GREAT’ campaign domestically.
Marketing to drive the aspiration to travel will be supported by work with the international travel trade and intermediaries to ensure that customers can easily book regional destinations.
Business visits and events are to become a priority for both VisitEngland and VisitBritain with a new team delivering an international platform for England and, at Britain level, working across government to deliver key industry sector events.
Activity to build private sector investment in tourism will be ramped up with the creation of a new directorship in London to build more commercial partnerships, drive growth in retail and leverage the supply side both domestically and internationally.
The organisation will be looking to develop more strategic relationships with commercial partners, for example building marketing relationships to share knowledge of key customer segments and markets and align product development and distribution with intermediaries.
BTS chief executive, Salli Balcombe (pictured), said: “With a good settlement and clear organisational focus we have an opportunity to deliver tourism growth across the nations of Britain and for the English regions.
“Of course there are challenges and tourism continues to be a fiercely competitive global industry. But we are confident that with our ethos of strong partnership working we can work together to deliver the best outcomes for both England and Britain.
“I look forward to starting this process with the regional engagement programme for the Discover England Fund which I will be leading in the coming weeks.”
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