LONDON (eTN) – This season is really turning up to be the season for exiting chief executives of tourism organizations. The latest to join the ranks of United Nations World Tourism Organization secretary general Francesco Frangialli and former Pacific Asia Travel Association Peter de Jong is the United Kingdom’s Tom Wright, who is the chief executive of VisitBritain.
In an announcement made yesterday, Wright confirmed he is leaving to take up a new role as chief executive of a major new charity to be formed from the merger of Age Concern England and Help the Aged next year. The new charity will have combined income in excess of £150 million (approximately US$300 million), and through its integral partner relationships, will deliver advocacy, policy, flagship services, and products to the sector.
However, unlike Frangialli and de Jong who both had requested to leave their posts earlier than their scheduled departure, Wright has said he will leave VisitBritain after an appropriate handover period, and a search has begun for his successor.
“It has been a great pleasure and honor to lead VisitBritain through some exciting and challenging times, and I believe we have a highly-effective and well-respected team to lead VisitBritain and VisitEngland towards the major opportunity of 2012 and also to address the current economic downturn,” Wright said.
He added, “The new framework will also lead to a more effective and efficient approach as to how all the tourism agencies work together. I would like to thank Christopher and all my colleagues for their hard work and enthusiasm over the years, and I wish them every success in the future.”
For his part, Christopher Rodrigues, chairman of VisitBritain, said, “Tom has been an excellent chief executive for VisitBritain, and we will miss him. He has guided this organization for almost seven years and delivered tremendous value to the visitor economy.
“Now that we are reaching completion of the Tourism Framework Review and preparing the restructuring of VisitBritain to separate VisitEngland with its own CEO, alongside a streamlined VisitBritain, I understand his desire for a new challenge and, on a personal level, I am delighted he has chosen to accept such a challenging and prestigious role.”
VisitBritain is Britain’s national tourism agency, responsible for marketing Britain worldwide and for developing the country’s visitor economy.