The Secretary of State wishes to appoint two new Board Members of the British Tourist Authority (“BTA”) Board. The BTA Board is responsible for the overall direction of the BTA (trading as VisitBritain/VisitEngland), working within a framework agreed with its sponsoring Government department, the Department for Culture, Media & Sport. The Board also monitors the BTA’s performance against targets agreed with DCMS.
We want to ensure any appointee is committed to embedding the principles of levelling up and championing opportunity for all across the organisation, helping to ensure that the organisation is one in which a genuinely diverse range of views can be expressed, without fear or favour.
Tourism is a crucial industry for the United Kingdom and made up of a variety of different kinds of enterprises, including: accommodation providers, attractions, cultural activities, exhibition and conference facilities, passenger transport, and sport and recreational activities.
Importance of the UK tourism industry
In 2019 (the most recent for which full figures are available), the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that tourism industries directly contributed £75 billion to the UK’s economy (gross value added or GVA), with 1.7 million direct employees. This equated to 4% of all GVA.
Impact of and HM Government’s response to coronavirus pandemic
The tourism industry has been one of the hardest hit sectors affected during 2020 and 2021 by measures introduced to combat the spread of COVID-19, such as restrictions on travel, on leaving home for non-essential reasons and on gathering, and the mandatory closures of certain types of businesses and premises. The ONS estimates that overseas residents made only 11.1 million visits to the UK, a reduction of 73%, and only £6.2 billion, a reduction of 78%, in 2020 compared to 2019.
In June 2021, HM Government published The Tourism Recovery Plan, following the commitment reiterated in the Prime Minister’s Spring Reopening Roadmap announced in February. It sets out the role that HM Government will play in assisting and accelerating the tourism sector’s recovery from COVID-19, along with a framework for how the government will work with the sector to build back better.
Looking ahead, the HM Government wants to see a growing, dynamic, sustainable and world-leading tourism sector reaching its full potential and driving growth across all parts of the UK. Specifically, some of the key aims are to:
Ensure that the sector’s recovery benefits every nation and region with visitors staying longer, growing accommodation occupancy rates in the off-season and high level of investment in tourism products and transport infrastructure.
Build back better with a more innovative and resilient industry, maximising the potential for technology and data to enhance the visitor experience and employing more UK nationals in year-round quality jobs.
Ensure that the tourism sector contributes to the enhancement and conservation of the country’s cultural, natural and historic heritage, minimising damage to the environment and is inclusive and accessible to all.
Return the UK swiftly to its pre-pandemic position as a leading European destination for hosting business events.
About the British Tourist Authority
The BTA is an Arm’s Length Body of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). It was set up by the Development of Tourism Act (1969) and recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. The BTA has a statutory duty:
To encourage people to visit Great Britain and people living in Great Britain to take their holidays there; and
To encourage the provision and improvement of tourist amenities and facilities in Great Britain.
The BTA trades as both VisitBritain and VisitEngland, with each organisation having different responsibilities. It acts as the Government’s strategic adviser on tourism matters.
VisitBritain’s main activities are:
Running a global network of offices that market Great Britain as a tourist destination to consumers in those regions. VisitBritain have staff in Canada, USA, Brazil, UAE, India, South Korea, Japan, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain, Sweden and Australia;
Delivering marketing campaigns in conjunction with commercial partners, including airlines and the travel trade;
Undertaking and disseminating research and data concerning inbound travel and analysing this to advise Government and industry;
Winning Business events including running the Business Events Growth Programme, which is focused on bringing international business events to the UK;
Hosting and attending international travel trade shows to promote Britain;
An online shop that delivers revenue to the business; and
Running an internal transformation programme to enhance digital and people capabilities.
VisitEngland’s main activities are:
Supporting the supply side to build digital skills and distribute in international markets with the recently developed TXGB platform;
Providing advice to tourism businesses on a range of topics, including making businesses more accessible/inclusive, customer insight and legal compliance;
Running awards schemes for tourism businesses; and
Running quality assessment schemes for tourism businesses.
Both organisations also play a major role in delivering the policy commitments in the Tourism Sector Deal.
At the 2020 Spending Round, the BTA received clarity on their funding settlement for 2021-25. Annually, VisitBritain receives £20m in grant-in-aid from DCMS and VisitEngland receives £7m in grant-in-aid. An additional £5m pot was allocated to deliver the transformation programme, business events and domestic marketing, VisitBritain also receives around £19m a year from the GREAT campaign led by the Cabinet Office.
The Chair of the BTA Board reports to the Secretary of State for DCMS and the Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society on the BTA’s performance. The Secretary of State’s current priorities for the BTA are:
Ensure the BTA’s work is fully aligned with the cross-Government post-COVID Tourism Recovery Plan. This includes implementation of the first recommendation of the de Bois’ Destination Management Organisations review, along with the North-East Destination Development Partnership pilot; and to continue to support the business events sector.;
Capitalise on key events in 2022 including His Majesty the King's Coronation and Eurovision 2023.
Ensure the BTA makes a full advisory contribution to Government policy making related to tourism;
Strengthen the marketing of Britain overseas to achieve growth in international leisure and business tourism, particularly in terms of value;
Continue to maintain distinct activities to develop and market English tourism;
Continue to prioritise improvements in procurement, compliance and wider corporate functions, ensuring that the BTA delivers high standards of regularity and propriety.
Aside from the Chair, the BTA Board consists of 7 other members, including representatives from VisitScotland and VisitWales. One Board member is the Chair of the VisitEngland Advisory Board, which provides advice on tourism matters pertaining to England only. There are also 3 observers, from DCMS, Northern Ireland and London & Partners.
This post is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. For more information, please refer to the Commissioner’s website