Culture Secretary launches visitor growth strategy

Culture Secretary Maria Miller has launched a tourism partnership strategy for Britain designed to secure visitor growth of 29 per cent.

VisitBritain, on the back of a £2m partnership with Emirates airline, is set to throw its weight again behind supporting major events as part of the campaign that would see Britain welcome 40m overseas visitors by 2020.

The Government reckons visitor spending could reach £31.5bn and support an additional 200,000 jobs.

Tourism already supports one in 12 jobs in the UK (2.6m) and over the past two years a third of all new jobs created were in tourism, the Government claims.

Last year, Britain welcomed 31m international visitors who spent £18.6bn, a record amount.

If growth at the projected level is achieved, it will mean an additional £8.7bn in foreign exchange earnings for the country.

The growth strategy is built around four key objectives, Miller said:

  • Building on Britain’s improved international image
  • Increasing engagement with the travel trade
  • Broadening the product range on offer for inbound tourists
  • Making it easier to get to Britain.

VisitBritain’s GREAT activity for 2013/14 will include targeting strongly performing growth markets, such as Brazil, China, India and the Gulf, along with established markets USA, France and Germany.
Over the last two years, VisitBritain’s marketing programme has directly contributed £900m to the UK tourism industry, a return on investment of 18 to 1. So far, the agency has secured £24m in match-funding from the private sector, doubling the Government investment.

The £2m, two-year partnership with international airline Emirates is designed to promote Britain overseas.

The Gulf region now signifies great potential for inbound visits to Britain. By 2016 the agency is forecasting 700,000 visitors will be welcomed from the region, representing a 32 per cent increase.

VisitBritain closed its business tourism department in 2011 and will now open a new regional hub in Dubai.

The agency is also expected to work more keenly with private sector partners and public diplomacy teams in source markets such as Mexico and South Korea.

Maria Miller said: “Tourism is central to the Government’s economic growth strategy. It’s worth £115 billion to our economy a year and we need to ensure we retain a competitive edge and can compete with other destinations around the world. With the GREAT campaign we are selling the best of Britain, building on strengths to boost tourism income right across the country.”

Chairman of VisitBritain, Christopher Rodrigues, added: “There are few British industries as strong as travel and tourism, and few have such growth potential. The success of our travel industry not only helps the economy, but is key to Britain’s image and its trading power around the world. There is no better time for us to capitalise on the increased interest there is in coming here and deliver a Golden Legacy for Britain.”
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Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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