WHY IT RATES: VisitBritain is beefing up its staff for one of its most important tourism markets. —Janeen Christoff, TravelPulse Senior Writer
VisitBritain has named four new appointments joining the United States (U.S.) region across the business events, trade and communications team.
VisitBritain plays a unique role in raising Britain’s profile to the US audience in an increasingly competitive global tourism market, helping to grow the volume and value of tourism to the UK.
Through the team in the US and across the Americas, the regional priorities include revitalizing Britain’s brand, building new and repeat business to the nations and regions of the UK.
“I am delighted to have such a talented group of individuals in our VisitBritain team in the U.S.,” said VisitBritain Americas director Gavin Landry. “In 2018, the U.S. became the top international market for spend and arrivals to the UK, and each person brings a unique set of skills that will be vital in helping to ensure Britain remains a top choice for visitors.”
Meeting and Incentives Director, North America
Leila Heller has been appointed as Meeting and Incentives Director for North America, based on the West Coast. Reporting directly to the executive vice president of Americas, Gavin Landry and head of business Events in London, Kerrin MacPhie, Leila will look after leading the growth in Business Events for the destination in the North American market.
Her work will help showcase the UK as a diverse Destination for MICE, with a focus on association, corporate and incentive sectors.
Leila joined VisitBritain from ESA Latin America, a Destination Management Company, where she focused on business development in the U.S. and Canada.
There, she worked with North American corporate clients, incentive houses, and various third parties to bring both first time and recurring programs to Latin America.
Prior to that, she worked closely with multiple International CVBs, including London & Partners and VisitScotland, DMCs, and hotel partners at Arena Destination Marketing, organizing turnkey sales missions and recruiting hosted buyers for major tradeshows and familiarization trips on behalf of CVBs and DMCs.
Senior B2B Marketing Manager, U.S.
Lisa Sjolund has been promoted to senior B2B marketing manager for the U.S., based in the Los Angeles office.
Reporting directly to Sheelagh Wylie, chief marketing officer for the Americas, this new position will play an important and strategic role in developing and executing the US integrated B2B marketing plan, leading on trade content and overseeing cooperative marketing partnerships across B2B and B2B2C owned, earned and paid channels.
Lisa joined VisitBritain in 2003 as the business development executive for the Western and Central Region.
Throughout her 16 year tenure she has worked on the trade and business development side, and prior to the new role, she was the senior travel trade manager for the Western Region, responsible for key account management, travel trade training, product development, travel trade content partnerships and business events.
Prior to joining VisitBritain, Lisa held business tourism, sales and marketing roles with the Hong Kong Tourism Board, Park Lane Hotels International and Radisson Hotels International.
Travel Trade Manager, Western Region
Jonathan Heasman has been appointed as travel trade manager, Western Region. Based in the Los Angeles office and reporting to Carl Walsh, director of travel trade North America, Jonathan will be leading bespoke key account management and analysis of key online and offline product distribution intermediaries in the region, as well as delivery of the B2B virtual and live events and missions in market.
Prior to joining VisitBritain, Jonathan worked with the tour operator, Trafalgar, in the customer contact center, where he was responsible for closing sales on inbound leads, as well as the Tours and Museum Assistant Manager and tour guide for the Chelsea Football Club in London.
Senior Communications Manager, U.S.
Julia Gordin has been promoted to Senior Communications Manager for the U.S. Based out of New York, and reporting to Sheelagh Wylie, chief marketing officer for the Americas, Julia will develop and implement the annual integrated Communications plan for VisitBritain U.S. Looking after consumer, trade and corporate press, she will assist with enabling the delivery of VisitBritain’s strategic PR and communications objectives.
Julia joined VisitBritain in April 2019 as the communications manager before transitioning into the new role.
Prior to that, she was a senior account executive at PR agency Bullfrog + Baum where she represented DMOs, tourism boards, hotel groups and restaurants.
Visitors from the U.S. made 3.87 million visits to the UK in 2018, with a spend of 3.37 million pounds, making the U.S. Britain’s most valuable inbound tourism market.
SOURCE: VisitBritain press release.
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