Chair - The British Tourist Authority

Body: The British Tourist Authority
Appointing Department: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Sectors: Business, Finance & Skills, Charity & Public Sector, Communities, Culture, Media & Sport, Regulation
Location: London for the majority of meetings, with occasional meetings in other locations across Britain. The appointee should expect to travel to represent British tourism nationally and internationally.
Skills required: Accountancy, Audit and Risk, Business / Commercial, Change Management, Communication / Media / Marketing, International Experience, Transformation
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: £40,000 pa plus reasonable expenses
Time Requirements: An average of two days a week. There are six board meetings a year. The Chair will represent Britain at major travel industry events, associations and forums both in Britain and abroad which will mean the time commitment will fluctuate over the year.


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

Rt Hon Sir Patrick McLoughlin CH has been appointed by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport as Chair of the BTA for three years from 1 June 2020 to 31 May 2023.

Date: 26/05/2020

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications


  • Panel Sift

    week commencing 27 January 2020

  • Final Interview Date

    week commencing 24 February March 2020

  • Announcement



Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description


The tourism industry is very important to the UK’s economy, directly contributing almost £70bn each year, employing 1.6 million people with jobs in every local authority. 

In recognition of tourism’s importance, earlier this year the former Prime Minister announced the Tourism Sector Deal as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy. The Sector Deal sets out how Government and the tourism industry will work together to grow the tourism industry further, develop the skills of the workforce and support destinations to enhance their visitor offer. The Deal represents a significant vote of confidence from the Government in the industry.

Our national tourist board, the British Tourist Authority (BTA), plays an important role in delivering the Government’s tourism agenda, including the Sector Deal. 

The Chair of the BTA Board’s term ends in March 2020 and the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport seeks to appoint a new Chair. 


The Role

The chief responsibilities of the new BTA Chair will be to:

  • Ensure that any statutory or administrative requirements for the use of public funds are complied with, that all expenditure is in accordance with Treasury rules for the management of public money and that the BTA maintains high standards of corporate governance at all times. The BTA Chair has an important role to play in supporting the organisation’s Accounting Officer in delivering high standards of regularity and probity.
  • Provide effective leadership of the Board and support to the Chief Executive to deliver on the aims and objectives agreed with DCMS – principally ensuring that:
    • Targets to grow inbound tourism in value terms are met. These include specific targets for the Devolved Administrations. 
    • International activity is designed and delivered in light of the views of the VisitEngland Advisory Board, VisitScotland and VisitWales.
    • The Tourism Sector Deal is delivered, and that BTA activity is brigaded around the themes relating to productivity identified in the deal.
    • An appropriate separation is maintained between England-only and Britain-wide activity and funding.
  • Ensure that the BTA maximises investment in English and British tourism and the promotion of Britain overseas, through partnership engagement and commercial activity, and that all expenditure is in accordance with HMT rules for the management of public money.
  • Actively build collaboration and alignment in activity across an extensive network of stakeholders, working with and through national tourist boards.
  • Act as an ambassador for British tourism, working across Government to further the promotion of Britain as part of the GREAT campaign and through commercial partnerships.
  • Represent Britain at major travel industry events, associations and forums operating at a national and global level.


Person Specification

Candidates should be able to demonstrate:

  • The ability to lead an executive board and support the leadership of a high profile organisation by providing strategic guidance and effective challenge.
  • An outstanding board-level track record at a senior level including partnership working and the management of organisations through periods of change.
  • Strong relationship building skills, with the ability to command respect, and work with and through others to achieve objectives.
  • An understanding of the roles of the Devolved Administrations in Scotland and Wales, and the nature of the English Tourism landscape.
  • An ability to understand and oversee compliance of public sector spending principles.
  • Excellent communication skills including the ability to operate effectively as an ambassador for the organisation.
  • Senior experience of at least one of the following. Experience and understanding/insight of both would be desirable.
    • Tourism/travel industries
    • Operating and developing partnerships within an international arena 

In addition, for those currently employed in the industry, candidates will need to be clear about any potential conflicts between this role and their other professional activities and be able to propose ways to manage conflicts should they arise.


Additional Information

About the British Tourist Authority

The BTA is an Arms Length Body of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). It was set up by the Development of Tourism Act (1969) and has just celebrated its 50th anniversary. The BTA has a statutory duty:

  1. To encourage people to visit Great Britain and people living in Great Britain to take their holidays there; and
  2. To encourage the provision and improvement of tourist amenities and facilities in Great Britain. 

The BTA trades as both VisitBritain and VisitEngland, with each organisation having different responsibilities. It acts as the Government’s strategic adviser on tourism matters.  

VisitBritain’s main activities are:

  • Running a global network of offices that market Great Britain as a tourist destination to consumers in those regions. VisitBritain have staff in Canada, USA, Brazil, UAE, India, China, South Korea, Japan, Russia, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Spain and Sweden.
  • Delivering marketing campaigns in conjunction with commercial partners, including airlines and the travel trade.
  • Undertaking and disseminating research and data concerning inbound travel.
  • Running the Business Events Growth Programme, which is focused on bringing international business events to the UK.
  • Attending international travel trade shows to promote Britain.


VisitEngland’s main activities are:

  • Administering the multi-million pound Discover England Fund.
  • Providing advice to tourism businesses on a range of topics, including making businesses more accessible/inclusive, customer insight and legal compliance.
  • Running awards schemes for tourism businesses.
  • Running quality assessment schemes for tourism businesses.

Both organisations also play a major role in delivering the policy commitments in the Tourism Sector Deal. 

At the 2019 Spending Round, the BTA received clarity on their funding settlement for 2020-21. VisitBritain will receive £20m in grant-in-aid from DCMS and VisitEngland will receive £7m in grant-in-aid. The Discover England Fund was also awarded £5.45m to continue for another year. The BTA also receive around £22m a year from the GREAT campaign led by the Department for International Trade.

The Chair of the BTA Board reports to the Secretary of State for DCMS and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism on the BTA’s performance. The Secretary of State’s current priorities for the BTA are:

  • Successfully delivering the Tourism Sector Deal, to the timescales set out in the publication. 
  • Strengthening the marketing of Britain overseas to drive growth in international leisure and business tourism, particularly in terms of value.
  • Maintaining distinct activities to develop and market English tourism, primarily through continuation of the Discover England Fund, but also through activities relating to business tourism and making the English tourism offer more accessible and sustainable.

Aside from the Chair, the BTA Board consists of 7 other members, including representatives from VisitScotland and VisitWales. One Board member is the Chair of the VisitEngland Advisory Board, which provides advice on tourism matters pertaining to England only. The VisitEngland Advisory Chair public appointment is being run in parallel with this position.


Supporting information

Further information on the BTA can be found through the VisitBritain and VisitEngland websites:


Current membership of the board

Seven board members (including representatives of VisitScotland and VisitWales) and two observers (one from DCMS and one from Northern Ireland). 


How long is the appointment and when will it start?

Three years, commencing April 2020


If you are not completely satisfied

We aim to process all applications as quickly as possible and to treat all applicants with courtesy. If you have any complaints about the way your application has been handled, please contact

This process is regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ (OCPA‘s) Code of Practice. All applicants are expected to have adhered to the Seven Principles of Public Life.

How to Apply

To apply, please send:

  • a CV of not more than two sides of A4
  • a supporting statement of not more than three sides of A4, providing examples and setting out how you meet the criteria
  • the two Monitoring Forms concerning your personal information and political activity, and the Declaration of Interests Form.

Completed applications should be emailed to:

Please put ‘British Tourist Authority Chair’ in the Subject line.

If you have any questions about the appointment process please contact the DCMS Public Appointments Team at

If you have any questions about the role please contact Giles Smith, Deputy Director of Heritage, Tourism and Cultural Diplomacy at DCMS ( or Sally Balcombe at the British Tourist Authority (

Conflicts of Interest Form 2018
OCPA-July-2018-Monitoring-Form- FINAL
OCPA Complaints Procedure (2016)
Code of Conduct for Board Members of Public Bodies 2019 WEB (1) (2)
BTA Chair Role Specification (1)
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