Thursday 18 November 2010

The publicity boost alone will be unprecedented. Almost a billion TV viewers watched the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana in 1981. The union of their eldest son to his bride can be expected to exceed that audience almost thirty years on.

Their marriage in the Spring or Summer of 2011 could easily be the biggest broadcast event in history with predictions that four billion people, three-quarters of the potential global TV audience, could watch the event. This would be multiplied by online and social media. Coverage of the wedding will give Britain a golden opportunity to demonstrate the strength of its history and tradition, but also show the world how that story is being brought right up to date by a very modern Royal couple, she said.

Some 30 million overseas tourists visited Britain last year, bringing in revenue worth £16 billion. In the latest survey foreign travellers told us that Britain’s culture and heritage was the most important reason why they came here, Our research shows that in a typical year Britain’s Monarchy generates, on the most conservative estimates, well over £500 million a year directly and indirectly from overseas tourists – but the benefit of a Royal Wedding year is likely to outstrip that.

The long-term impact of the event is likely to be spread right across Britain’s tourism sector. After the wedding the couple, who met at St Andrews University, will live in North Wales where the Prince is serving with the RAF. Their fame looks likely to have a beneficial impact on the fashionability of North Wales which last year attracted 289,000 overseas visitors, bringing in a total of £77 million in revenue. Places like the beautiful Dee Valley and the picturesque market town of Llangollen, the Snowdonia National Park and the vast medieval fortress Caernarfon Castle built by Edward I look set to gain extra cache as tourist destinations.

The timing of the wedding in the year before the 2012 Diamond Jubilee of HM the Queen and London’s hosting of the Olympic and Paralympic Games is a happy coincidence with the publicity around the marriage creating a ‘’halo effect’’ that will carry over to the celebrations of the following year.

Sandie Dawe said: ‘’The Royal Wedding is set to deliver a welcome boost not just to the tourism industry in London but across Britain. It will give VisitBritain a wonderful opportunity to showcase Britain in the lead up to the 2012 Games. We are already talking to the rights holding broadcasters and the marriage in 2011 gives a further unparalleled chance to tell the world what we have to offer as a tourism destination.

‘’The couple studied at St Andrews and spend time at Balmoral so that is a wonderful boost for Scotland and they live in Wales which has fantastic scenery and awe-inspiring castles. William and Kate are a modern couple. They go to nightclubs and they are outdoor people which gives us the chance to talk about these activites on offer to overseas visitors.. Kate seems to shop on the high street which is very accessible. The wedding dress will give us a chance to highlight our designers while the wedding gifts will showcase our outstanding craftspeople, potters, glass and textiles. All of this helps us tell the story of contemporary Britain. It is the most wonderful publicity boost for the country.’’

VisitBritain has sponsored a question on the respected Nation Brands Index survey (2010), which looks at countries as if they are commercial brands, to evaluate the appeal of specific activities to potential tourists. The question asked “Which of the following activities would you most like to do while on holiday in Britain?"

Respondents from 20 countries around the world were allowed to choose up to 3 activities from a list of 18.

The top three activities all involved castles/palaces as you can see from the chart below., respondents found the idea of going on a tour around Welsh castles highly appealing (selected by 34% of respondents).

A tour of Buckingham Palace was next on the list (32%), followed by spending a night in a Scottish castle (29%)

For more information contact:

VisitBritain Media Team

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