Andy Facer, who has served as Alabama’s main contact for tour operators in the U.K. & Ireland markets since 2017 has formed his own company with Alabama as his first account.
Facer previously worked for Global Travel Marketing, a firm headed by Venessa Alexander, who’s decision to pursue other interest was advanced when Covid caused a worldwide slowdown in travel. Alexander is currently in the south of France picking grapes and enjoying a slow-paced life after two decades in the competitive travel representation business.
“I’ve been very lucky to have Venessa Alexander as my mentor for nearly six years, without her guidance and support I wouldn’t find myself with this fantastic opportunity,” said Facer.
As an employee of Global Travel Marketing, most recently Facer had been serving as Alabama’s contact in the U.K. “The last three & half years looking after Alabama have been some of the happiest of my career. I love sharing Alabama’s stories and seeing the surprise on people’s faces when they learn about everything the state has to offer,” added Facer.
Facer has a long relationship with the tourism industry in Alabama. Prior to his work with Global Marketing, Facer’s first experience with Alabama as a travel destination was in 2014 while he was on a hosted trip to see Gulf Shores and Mobile while working for a U.K. tour company.
“We are lucky to have Facer representing us in our number one overseas market,” said Grey Brennan, Deputy Director Alabama Tourism. “He has the relationship we need with top tour operators in the U.K. market and the knowledge of Alabama as a travel destination necessary to maintain and increase our share of business during these challenging times.”
While the traveling public pauses, the business of convincing travel and tour companies to keep or add destinations to their offerings are heating up.
This year saw several mergers and closures of U.K. and Ireland travel companies. This results in destinations worldwide competing to be included in the offerings of a more concentrated industry. “Only those destinations with an in-market seasoned representative will benefit from a more competitive market. Facer’s years of experience and knowledge of Alabama puts our state in a position of gaining market share when travel resumes,” said Brennan.
Facer has 27 years’ experience in the travel industry, including 19 years working for Europe’s then second largest travel business, Thomas Cook.
Tourism Economics says Alabama received 399,910 international visits in 2019 and leads the country over a 10-year period in compound annualized percentage growth of international visitors at 5.58% compared to the national average of 2.33%. The U.K. and Ireland combined is Alabama’s number one overseas market with an estimated 45,680 visitors spending 80.6 million dollars in Alabama in 2019, an increase in visitors by 7% from the previous year.
Alabama’s marketing and PR firm, Intermark Group, secured the one-year agreement with Facer and his newly formed company 5F Marketing.
Andy Facer can be reached by email at Andy@5FMarketing.com or by phone at +44 208 339 6122.