Three-times Wimbledon champion and Olympic gold medallist Boris Becker, the last undisputed world heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis and Ryder Cup winning captain, Colin Montgomerie have all produced a personal film talking about what makes Britain special for them.
Support from these sporting icons comes straight after VisitBritain unveiled global football superstar David Beckham’s top tourist tips for the new ‘Best of Britain’ app with Samsung.
The assembling of the three new VisitBritain sporting ambassadors marks the most recent phase of the national tourism agency’s global GREAT campaign which aims to attract an extra 4.6 million visitors by 2015 spending £2.3 billion. Sport is already a huge draw for international tourists and is worth over £2.3 billion(1) to the UK economy each year. It is also one of seven tourism ‘pillars’(2) the national tourism agency is using to promote Britain around the world, highlighting the UK and featuring many of the historic destinations that millions of sports fans will be familiar with.
Six-time Grand Slam Singles Champion, Boris Becker at Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club, said: “I’ve been called Britain’s favourite German, but quite honestly I don’t think the list is very long!
“London is my home away from home, two out of my four children were born in Britain and my wife fell in love with the place and couldn’t live anywhere else.
“The thing I love most about this country is that the British are very hospitable and friendly. I like to socialise with people from every part of the world. I have a great interest in British music and the O2 is a great indoor arena, but if you love music then this summer Hyde Park will host all the best groups in the world.”
Heading back to his roots in London’s East End, Lennox Lewis, another Olympic gold medal winner said: “Britain gives me a sense of history and pride, I was born in East London and as a youngster loved football and the fish and chips, and you can’t get decent fish and chips until you come back to London.
“Every time the Olympics come to a city they reinvigorate it. New transport links in East London are great, but even when the Olympics leave we’ll see better housing and a better way of life. The people drive me back to the UK with friends I’ve known for a long time - a friend in Britain is a friend for life.
“Britain is a mix of different cultures, you need to travel around, hear different accents and go out to the countryside. A lot of people don’t realise how beautiful Britain is, from Wales, to Scotland, to the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, it’s a lovely place to visit.”
Taking in the golfing heaven of Gleneagles in the heart of Scotland, Colin Montgomerie - the winner of a record eight European Tour Order of Merit titles - told us: “Scotland has a history second to none and we like to think we welcome the world. We are very patriotic here and proud of our heritage, including places like St Andrews, the birthplace of golf around 400 years ago.
“The scenery and walks in Scotland are things that visitors are drawn to, be it the Highlands or Islands in the north which is a very beautiful and picturesque part of the world, or playing our national sport at any of the 538 golf courses we have here in Scotland - the most per capita than anywhere else in the world.”
Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive at VisitBritain said: “Recruiting these three sporting legends to promote Britain around the world helps reinforce our appeal across different cultures and sporting tastes.
“Britain’s sporting heritage is being highlighted this year like never before, helping us to showcase a welcoming exciting Britain. This puts us on the wish list for visitors from new growth markets in Asia and Latin America and goes a long way to help revitalise our appeal in core markets such as Europe and the USA.”
This is just the start of a golden period for Britain hosting the world’s sporting elite, and of course those keen to come and support their efforts. This sees the Rugby League World Cup in 2013, the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup in 2014, the IRB Rugby World Cup in 2015, the World Athletics Championship in 2017 and the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019. All are set to ensure that while the Olympic movement will move on to other cities, Britain will continue to remain centre-stage when it comes to sport.
The new celebrity videos will be shown across all of VisitBritain’s digital channels including visitbritain.com and visitbritain.tv, which together receive over two million views of content each month. The sporting videos will also be posted on Love UK - VisitBritain’s Facebook page. Now with nearly 800,000 fans, it has recently been named one of the biggest brand pages in the UK ahead of Cadbury’s and Starbucks. VisitBritain will also be using its twitter account @VisitBritain, voted by Klout last year as the most influential national tourist board on Twitter, with regular sporting tweets throughout 2012 and at Games time.
For more information contact:
VisitBritain Media Teampressandpr@visitbritain.com