A successor is being sought to replace Sally Balcombe, who will step down from her role as chief executive of VisitBritain/VisitEngland in the spring.
Balcombe said: “After seven years as CEO, first of VisitBritain and then of VisitBritain and VisitEngland, I will be leaving the organisation in spring of this year to pursue new opportunities, including non-exec roles.
“Our chair, Dame Judith Macgregor, will be leading a recruitment process for my successor, supported by the British Tourist Authority board and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.”
She added: “It has been an honour to be CEO of our national tourism agency. When I joined, our world-class industry was on a high and it went from strength to strength, attracting record numbers of both visits and spend, creating jobs and economic growth.
“Since the pandemic struck, we all know how hard our industry has been hit.
“Our sector has always been able to adapt and COVID was no different, with conference centres becoming hospitals, venues becoming vaccination centres and museums and attractions taking their collections online.”
Looking at 2022 onwards, she said: “Our focus in the short-term is to drive immediate tourism recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic by building back visitor spend as quickly as possible and supporting the industry.
“At the same time, we are developing our longer-term strategy to drive future demand for Britain, as well as boosting the supply side.”
Dame Judith Macgregor added: “On behalf of the BTA Board and VisitBritain/VisitEngland I would like to extend our huge thanks to Sally for her outstanding and creative leadership over so many years of successful development and for steering the agency through the difficulties of the pandemic, setting its priorities and longer-term strategy to support this hard hit industry through crisis to recovery and beyond.
“Sally has made a significant and lasting contribution to the UK’s tourism industry, not only during her tenure as CEO of VisitBritain/VisitEngland, but with a career spanning more than 40 years in travel. We wish Sally all the very best for the future.”