Ten years of the world doing business in Britain has paid off with 9 million international business visitors now coming to the UK, a 48 per cent increase over the decade, according to national tourism agency, VisitBritain. Their latest research indicates that spending has also increased 48 per cent since 1996 to reach a massive £4.8 billion. The figures exceed those of holiday tourism which over the same decade has experienced a 4 per cent fall in visits and just a 2.5 per cent increase in spending.
VisitBritain is heading to Barcelona in November to take advantage of Britain’s increasing popularity and to showcase Britain - and 15 venues, destinations and professional services - in front of over 6,000 international buyers from over 85 countries at EIBTM, one of the leading exhibitions for the conference, incentives, events, business travel and meetings industry.
The importance of business visits and events to Britain’s £85 billion visitor economy was recognised recently in a major Government strategy to win a potential £2.1 billion tourism benefit from the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games.
This September, the UK’s Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport alongside national tourism agency VisitBritain and tourist board Visit London launched Winning: A tourism strategy for 2012 and beyond. Within its pages, an entire chapter emphasises the value of the increasing number of business visits and events being hosted in Britain. It demonstrates Britain’s ambition to bring even more large-scale events to the country as a result of winning the Olympic Games in 2012.
VisitBritain has already launched its own strategy to help British destinations capture the attention of the world’s event organisers. It has established a new unit, eventBritain, to help bring hundreds more major business, cultural and sporting events to Britain. By working closely with VisitBritain’s network of offices around the world, eventBritain can recommend venues throughout Britain to the world’s major corporations and international associations, as well as the organisers of sporting, cultural and business events. It will be able to influence and increase the already significant 34 per cent annual growth in and trade fairs and exhibitions spending and 11 per cent growth in spending on conferences and large meetings.
Alex Paul, manager of eventBritain, says: “Events bring enormous economic benefits to tourism as delegates can spend around £160 per day, over double what leisure visitors spend. London’s reputation as a business and financial centre will help us spread these events throughout the country and help us bring even more delegates here on business.
“Working with our partners, eventBritain will add value along all stages of the bid process to ensure higher conversion levels for our partners in a hugely competitive market.”
- Britain’s achievements in hosting the Commonwealth Games and winning the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games has increased interest from organisations around the world in hosting their events here. The 2009 Twenty20 World Championships and 2019 Cricket World Cup, Society of American Travel Writers annual convention and the International Association for Homes and Services for the Aged have all chosen to come to Britain since the country won the Olympic Games. £21.6 billion is already generated by conferences, exhibitions and trade fairs, corporate events and hospitality, and outdoor events in this country.