BRITAIN READY TO GIVE THE WARMEST OF WELCOMES WITH JUST 100 DAYS TO GO UNTIL LONDON 2012

Wednesday 18 April 2012

With the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games just 100 days away, the national tourism agency, VisitBritain says businesses and communities across the country are warming up their welcome for the arrival of the greatest show on earth.

During July and August the UK would normally expect to receive around 6 million overseas visitors, about half of these would be visiting London on holiday. Around 1 million tickets have been allocated for international visitors. During Games time there will also be nearly 22,000 athletes and officials here for the Games, over 20,000 international media, around 6,000 members of the Olympic & Paralympic Family, and many friends and relatives of the athletes arriving in the UK to experience the Games atmosphere and enjoy the best of British hospitality.

VisitBritain research shows that the more welcome visitors feel, the more likely they are to recommend Britain as great destination to family and friends(1). This is particularly important since word of mouth has more influence over destination choice than any other source of information.

In a push to encourage even more people to come and experience the very best of what Britain has to offer, VisitBritain is mounting its biggest marketing push – under the GREAT banner(3). The campaign involves an image campaign in 14 major cities in key markets, including Toronto and Vancouver, supported by digital marketing and social media activity with a global footprint. To add weight to the advertising campaign, VisitBritain has called upon the British public to send a postcard to their friends and relatives around the world, inviting them to come and visit the UK in 2012. This follows a similar invitation from celebrities including Dev Patel, Jamie Oliver, Dame Judi Dench and Matt Smith.

The use of PR and social media is important in improving perceptions of welcome as it provides a means of direct engagement with potential visitors, as well as a less formal, more welcoming tone of voice. VisitBritain receives 18 million visitors annually to visitbritain.com, and has over 750,000 fans of our LoveUK Facebook group along with one of the most influential Twitter profiles (@VisitBritain) in the global tourism industry.

VisitBritain also built the website and supported work behind London 2012’s Pre Games Training Camps (PGTC). They provide athletes with a warm welcome along with a base from which to prepare, train and acclimatise ahead of the Games. The PGTC agreements represent an opportunity for cultural exchange with athletes, education and engagement alongside provisions for international sporting teams.

Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive of VisitBritain said: “The 2012 Games, the Olympic Torch Relay and the Cultural Festival present a major opportunity to showcase Britain at its very best. The welcome we offer our visitors will be a crucial measure of the success of this year’s events. The overwhelming perception of Britain globally is positive and with the help of businesses and communities across the country, we are looking to roll out the welcome mat.

“The tourism industry has taken great strides over the last few years to ensure it delivers a first-class welcome for our visitors. From restaurants and pubs, to major attractions, hotels and airports, right across Britain we want to be able to offer the highest levels of customer service, something which will help create a lasting impression on our guests from [INSERT COUNTRY] and hopefully bring them back time and time again.”

For more information contact:

VisitBritain Media Team

pressandpr@visitbritain.com

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London is ready to welcome the world with 100 days to go to the London 2012 Olympic Games