The British Tourist Authority (BTA) has today (Wednesday 20 January) announced the appointment of a new interim Director, England, Andrew Stokes.
Mr Stokes has spent the last 14 years as Chief Executive of Marketing Manchester where he transformed the organisation from being totally focused on tourism to one working across sectors responsible for branding, promotion and marketing the city.
In his role as Director, England, Mr 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 product development to ensure that ‘bookable' regional product is being sold in international markets. This is set to also benefit the domestic tourism industry by building engagement and partnerships across regions and developing product that will be attractive to domestic as well as international markets.
BTA Chief Executive Sally Balcombe said:
"I am very pleased to welcome Drew as the new Director, England. 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."
Prior to becoming CEO of Marketing Manchester, Mr Stokes was its Director of Marketing where he worked on the 2002 Commonwealth Games, the reinvention of the annual Pride festival, major political conferences and Manchester Airport's route development and marketing strategy. Prior to this, Mr Stokes held leadership roles within the former London Tourist Board, the Royal Opera House - Covent Garden and the Royal Albert Hall. He has also sat on the boards of Manchester International Festival, Manchester Central Convention Complex, Cityco Ltd. and Carcanet Press.
Mr 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 Sally with an external regional engagement programme to run throughout February and March this year.
Mr 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."
Today's announcement comes as the BTA sets out proposals on how VisitBritain and VisitEngland are going to be brought closer together to deliver on the UK Government's priorities for tourism.
The changes will ensure that the BTA continues to market the nations and regions of Britain overseas to grow international tourism, as well as maintaining distinct activities to develop and market England tourism with greater co-ordination across the industry.
Mr Stokes is due to take up his new role on Wednesday 3 February 2016.
Tourism is Britain's seventh largest export industry and third largest service sector.
For more information contact:
VisitBritain Media Teampressandpr@visitbritain.com