Thursday 09 June 2016

NEW YORK, NY, June 6, 2016 - VisitBritain has today announced the appointment of a new Interim Executive Vice President Americas, Paul Gauger.

This appointment comes on the back of a recent global reorganization at VisitBritain which aims to revitalize Britain's brand proposition in North America and continue to build growth markets in Latin America.

Newly released data from the UK Office for National Statistics reveals that 2015 was a record-breaking year for travel to Britain and visits from the USA, Canada and Brazil rose almost 10%. Spending from the US, the UK's most valuable source market, grew by 2% to £3 billion, a record and the first time any single market has spent more than £3 billion.

In his new role, Paul will lead the consumer and B2B marketing strategy to grow outbound tourism in the Americas. Paul will implement a new organisational strategy, amplify the GREAT Britain: Home of Amazing Moments #OMGB campaign; build VisitBritain's commercial capabilities across retail and product development, put in place market digital and content strategies and forge strategic local partnerships across the three regions.

Paul joined VisitBritain in 2003 and has held senior roles within the organization, most recently the Global Head of International Media & Destination PR based in London. He was previously based in New York for five years as VisitBritain's Communications Director Americas, a role that has given him profile, strong industry contacts and deep market knowledge in all three markets in which VisitBritain has offices. Previously, Paul was the organisation's Global Leader, 2012 Games Media, where he maximised the once-in-a-generation media opportunities created by London and Britain's triumphant hosting of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

"We are delighted to have such a seasoned global marketing professional at the helm of one of our most important markets. Paul brings a wealth of market knowledge and experience to the role that will be a real asset in building brand awareness and developing commercial and content led strategies. His experience with the Olympics is a timely boost as we prepare for Rio 2016," says VisitBritain CEO Sally Balcombe.

"It's a real honor to have been appointed to this interim role and be back in the Americas," says Gauger. "2015 was another record-breaking year for tourism to Britain from this region but we still have ambitious plans to make Britain THE place to be in 2016 and are aggressively going after lost market-share. I'm excited to get started and look forward to leading the team to deliver this success."


Notes to Editors:

- VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, is responsible for inspiring the world to explore Britain and for developing the UK's visitor economy.

- Tourism is Britain's seventh largest export industry and third largest service sector.

- Follow us on Twitter @VisitBritain, Pinterest (Love GREAT Britain), Instagram: lovegreatbritain and Facebook: LoveGREATbritain

2015 ONS International Passenger Survey Data:

Market Data:

- USA: visits grew 10% to 3.3 million, the best since 2007. This represents an additional 290,000 visits since 2014. Spending from the UK's most valuable source market grew by 2% to £3.0 billion, a record and the first time any single market has spent over £3 billion. The USA alone is twice as valuable and worth over £1.5 billion more to Britain than any other market.

- Canada: both visits and spending from Canada were up on 2014: visits rose by 9% to 708,000 and spending by 7% to £506 million.

- Brazil: despite a weak economy, visit numbers rose 10% to a record 324,000. Spending was 1% up to £256 million.

- More information here

Global Data:

- Visits were up 5% on 2014 at 36.1 million. This is a new record and a similar rate of growth as seen in 2013 and 2014.

- Spending by inbound visitors was 1% up on 2014 at £22.1 billion (in nominal terms) and a new record.

- The UK saw 273.1 million inbound visitor nights, up 3% on 2014 but just short of the previous record set in 2006.

- The UK saw 13.9 million holiday visits in 2015, up 2% on 2014's previous record, although spending was 2% down to £8.6 billion.

- Business visits grew by 7% on 2014 to 8.9 million, the highest result since 2006. Spending by business visitors reached £5.4 billion, a record and an increase of 7%.

- VFR (Visiting Friends and Relatives) visits saw 7% growth and reached 10.5 million, the first time that the UK has seen over 10 million VFR visits in a single year. VFR visitors spent £4.8 billion, up 4% on 2014 and a new record.

- Visits for miscellaneous purposes grew by 6% to 2.9 million although spending from these visitors fell 6% to £3.2 billion.

For more information contact:

VisitBritain Media Team

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