VisitBritain charms US press

American journalists have been touring the parts of the nations and regions of the UK between 1 - 14 October, looking for stories and ideas to help promote destinations as a visitor destination throughout the United States.VisitBritainVisitBritain, along with the Northwest Regional Development Agency, England’s North Country and Marketing Manchester welcomed over 500 American journalists for the 52nd annual convention of the Society of American Travel Writers from 5 - 10 October. The delegates were hosted in Manchester - gateway to England’s Northwest - and, thanks to a series of trips arranged throughout Britain both before and after the convention, publicity could help bring more Americans to different parts of the country.

Tom Wright, chief executive of national tourism agency VisitBritain, says: “This is a fantastic coup for Manchester, the North West and the whole of Britain. Not only do conventions such as this bring welcome revenue to local and regional visitor economies, but delegates will take back a host of story ideas for the travel pages of newspapers and magazines, and for TV and radio programmes broadcast to millions of consumers throughout the US.

“Americans remain Britain’s most important source of inbound visitors, but we are facing increasing competition from around the world. By guaranteeing Society members a warm welcome and a fantastic experience, we can ensure they return home to remind American travellers why Britain remains their favourite long haul destination.”

Although 13% up on 2005, the 3.9 million visits from America still remains 200,000 short of their peak in 2000 due to increased competition from newer and rival destinations and the strength of sterling against the dollar. As well as welcoming the Society of American Travel Writers, VisitBritain and partners throughout the tourism industry have been working to restore Britain’s ‘brag factor’ with the ‘be a Brit different’ campaign in the USA.