VisitBritain Appoints New CEO with Focus on Digital Marketing


Jul 24, 2014 2:40 pm

Skift Take

VisitBritain’s new leadership will make way for more innovative and effective marketing strategies, which could help the country continue its tourism growth amid intense competition.

— Samantha Shankman

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Antonio Picascia  / Flickr

The changing of the Queen's guard at Buckingham Palace. Antonio Picascia / Flickr

There’s a literal changing of the guard at VisitBritain, which today announced that Sally Balcombe would replace Sandie Dawe as CEO.

Dawe announced her departure this spring after five years in the role and 23 years at the organization.

Balcombe, who is a current VisitBritain board member, has built her career in the consumer travel industry holding roles such as managing director of British Airways Holidays and of the specialist sun division at TUI as well as commercial director of Opodo and chief marketing officer at Travelport.

As we mentioned during the tourism board’s search, a strong grasp of digital marketing was essential in the selection process. Balcombe’s experience as CMO of Travelport surely ticks that box.

“This has to be the most exciting tourism marketing job in the world,” VisitBritain Chairman Christopher Rodrigues said as part of the announcement.

“The challenge now is to ensure that inbound tourism, Britain’s fifth largest export industry, continues to deliver jobs and growth across the country in partnership with our strategic partners, the National Tourist Boards.”

VisitBritain has aggressively focused on attracting lucrative Chinese tourists as well as expanding its digital marketing strategy following the Olympics.

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