VisitBritain is proposing to make 70 staff redundant at the same time as it is on the brink of launching a new four-year match-funded global marketing campaign.
The redundancies are one element of a series of organisational changes which are necessary to streamline the national tourism agency as a result of the 34% cut from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to VisitBritain's budget, announced in October 2010.
Overheads abroad will also be cut by reducing VisitBritain's presence from 35 to 21 markets, based in 24 key cities. The markets where it will retain a presence, including the USA, Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, India, China and Australia, are deemed to offer the best future returns for Britain, accounting for 80% of inbound tourism spend.
However, VisitBritain will be withdrawing from 14 countries, including Argentina, Finland, Greece, Malaysia, New Zealand and South Africa.
VisitBritain says the focus of its activity now will be to use the forthcoming major events taking place in Britain - the Royal Wedding, the Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and Paralympic Games - to deliver an additional £2b of visitor spend and an extra 50,000 jobs.
It will also continue to deliver insights, trends and industry performance research, as well as maintain a streamlined advisory role to advise the Government on tourism.
Sandie Dawe, VisitBritain chief executive, said the proposed new structure and focus reflected the agency's priorities, which are in line with its 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," she commented. "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.
The 70 proposed redundancies account for an overall reduction of 25-30% in VisitBritain posts. Staff are currently being consulted and the final outcome should be known by the end of April.
By Janet Harmer
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