Today’s annual review launch reveals that in 2013/2014, after three years of its post-Olympic GREAT campaign, VisitBritain marketing activity has already generated £1.8 billion of its four-year £2 billion additional visitor spend target. The tourism agency has also attained £43 million of its four-year £50 million partnership funding target, putting it well on track to hit its goal by the end of the 2014/15 financial year.
In 2011 the Government set VisitBritain the target of delivering a £100 million marketing campaign over four years, with £50 million of that budget generated from partnership funding. The objectives of the ‘You’re Invited’ campaign were to attract four million additional visitors, additional tourist spending of £2 billion and the creation of 50,000 new jobs. VisitBritain can now demonstrate how it is reaching these stretching targets.
Tourism is Britain’s fifth largest export industry and spend by international visitors, fuelled by external demand, is forecast to grow by over 6% a year across the rest of this decade.
The first seven months of 2014 became the strongest seven months in history for inbound tourism, with 19.8 million visits to Britain from January to July - an increase of 7% compared to the same period of 2013. In the whole of 2013, Britain welcomed a record 32.8 million inbound visits and tourism revenues grew by 13%, with international visitors spending more money than ever across Britain, contributing £24 billion to the UK economy. The GREAT campaign is spreading the economic benefits of tourism across the country with the value of inbound tourism to Scotland and various regions of England growing by 20% and 15% respectively, and 12% in London.
VisitBritain could not have achieved these results without the starring roles played by its commercial partners and global brands, including British Airways, EasyJet, Virgin Atlantic, P&O Ferries, Expedia, Yahoo! and the Barclays Premier League, as well as regional gateways such as Manchester and Birmingham bringing additional visitors to Britain. The tourism agency also secured £4 million of free advertising space at Heathrow Airport, promoting areas across Britain including Yorkshire, the South West and North East of England and Wales.
This past year has seen VisitBritain cement itself as a frontrunner in the digital space, ranking first among key competitors in number of Twitter followers and third for Facebook fans and Weibo followers. Sales from the tourism agency’s online shop, VisitBritain Shop, are also soaring, with £1.3 m profit invested back into the agency’s marketing activity last year.
VisitBritain continues to work closely with the travel trade to make sure more of Britain features in operators’ itineraries. It has hosted 17 global events and nurtured 35,000 connections with trade influencers in the last year. Looking ahead, in February 2015 VisitBritain will launch ExploreGB, the world’s largest and most influential B2B tourism event, bringing leading travel companies from across the world into the UK.
VisitBritain has been allocated £17 million for the GREAT image campaign in 2014/15. The agency will be launching a new three-year £3 million Countryside is GREAT campaign to showcase the British regions, tourism ensuring the economic benefits of the growth in international are shared across Britain. In terms of its market focus for 2014/2015, VisitBritain will work on growing visits and spend from fast-growing emerging markets such as China, India and the Gulf states just as much as boosting visits from mature markets like the US and France. Later this year, VisitBritain will announce details of its largest ever consumer marketing campaign in China worth £1.6million.
Launching the annual review,Christopher Rodrigues, Chairman of VisitBritain said: “Delivering a record year for inbound tourism is a tribute to the industry, our commercial partners and the National Boards who have supported our activity. VisitBritain is proud to have played its part, particularly in its delivery of the GREAT campaign and bringing in private sector funding to maximise Government’s investment in tourism – Britain’s fifth largest export industry.
“Every action we take is inspired by a simple motivation: to add value to the inbound tourism industry and drive economic growth across Britain’s nations and regions. The last year has seen this happen and we want to continue that story of success and growth to achieve our ambition of 40 million inbound visitors by 2020.”
For more information contact:
VisitBritain Media Teampressandpr@visitbritain.com