The steps have been taken to allow the tourism agency to deliver a four-year, match funded global marketing campaign, which is expected to provide an additional £2bn of visitor spend and an extra 50,000 jobs.
However, in order to achieve these goals, the tourism agency has been forced to undertake a series of organisational changes following a Governmental budget cut of 34 per cent.
It will withdraw its presence from 14 overseas markets including Argentina, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Hong Kong (which will be grouped with China), Hungary, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa and Thailand.
The remaining 21 markets, VisitBritain claims, accounts for 80 per cent of inbound tourism spend, and includes USA, Canada, Brazil, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, China, India, Japan and UAE.
The changes will mean the loss of over 25 per cent of VisitBritain’s workforce, for which staff consultation is currently underway.
Sandie Dawe, chief executive of VisitBritain, said: “This proposed new structure and focus reflects our priorities and is in line with our four-year funding settlement. Our goal is to maximise the tourism opportunities of hosting a raft of major iconic events over the next two years.
“We need to ensure that this clarity of focus is supported by the right structure and skills. I have every confidence in the professionalism and passion of my team to deliver on our ambitions and for our partners and the whole tourism industry”.
VisitBritain will also close the Britain and London Visitor Centre on Lower Regent Street when its lease expires in 2012, but is in discussions with other agencies to provide tourist information in the capital.