Jeremy Sampson has been named as new chief executive of the Travel Foundation.

A US national, he was president of international tour operator GreenSpot Travel, and most recently led sustainable tourism initiatives for the International Union for Conservation of Nature Mediterranean Co-operation Centre, where he worked across Southern Europe and North Africa.

He was also adjunct professor at the international institute of tourism studies at George Washington University School of Business.

Sampson will take over from Salli Felton, who steps down to relocate to her native Australia, from September 16.

Currently based in Malaga, he will relocate to the Travel Foundation’s head office in Bristol.

Noel Josephides, chairman of the Travel Foundation board of trustees, said: “We have found in Jeremy a very impressive individual who has demonstrated exemplary leadership skills, a real understanding of the issues facing our industry, and a passion for the Travel Foundation and its work.

“We back his bold vision for the Travel Foundation and have every confidence that he will inspire his team and the wider world with ambitious plans to transform the way tourism operates.

“The trustees also thank Salli for her true dedication throughout the past six years and recognise the great strides that she and the Travel Foundation have already made to ensure that destinations are understood as precious shared assets and not business commodities.”

Sampson said: “We must continue to build momentum, achieving positive outcomes for destinations at a global scale, and advocating, more strongly than ever, for sustainable tourism as the only viable option.

“My motto is to ‘do good work with great people’ and I shall do just that with the experienced and talented Travel Foundation team, and by collaborating with the many public, private and non-profit organisations around the world which can help us to deliver our mission”.

Felton added: “I’ve known Jeremy for many years, and I am leaving the Travel Foundation in very capable hands.

“This is a great job, with so many opportunities and so much potential, and Jeremy will seize that and make a real difference from day one.”