VisitBritain will be building the British visitor economy on the back of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games this summer and promoting Britain as a destination for watching and participating in sport at all levels. VisitBritain and its partners’ activities will help the UK’s nations and regions showcase their areas and promote sports venues, facilities and events to an influential audience of Olympic committees and sports federations. Research commissioned by Oxford Economic Forecasting suggests that the UK’s visitor economy could be boosted by more than £2 billion1 as a result of hosting the Games.
One in ten visits from overseas - 4.7 million and 14 per cent of the total - involve watching a sporting event or taking part in sporting activities. Although they travel from the other side of the world, visitors from Australia and New Zealand live up to their reputation as ‘sports mad’ with 28 per cent of New Zealanders and 25 per cent of Australians watching or participating during their stay. Sport is also a way of attracting the attention of visitors from emerging markets where year on year growth often exceeds that from more mature economies. 16 per cent of Brazilians, 15 per cent of Malaysian, 14 per cent of Czech and 13 per cent of Russian visits involve sport - all higher percentages than the French, Germans, Japanese and Italians.
VisitBritain chief executive Tom Wright will front much of VisitBritain’s presence in Beijing. He says: “Being in Beijing this summer will enable us to ensure tourism is among the beneficiaries of London 2012. It marks the first stage of our strategy to spread the economic benefits of the Olympics throughout the UK and raise the profile and awareness of Britain as a destination.”
Working in partnership with Visit London, VisitBritain aims to echo the success of Sydney and Barcelona, which used their Games to stimulate visitor growth and confirm their place as global destinations, and ensure that the legacy of hosting the Games extends from London to the whole of the UK. The Games also offer host cities and nations the chance to win other major events and Beijing 08 is the perfect platform for reminding the world of Britain’s reputation for holding such business, sporting and cultural occasions.
According to the recent VisitBritain research, more than a fifth (22%) of potential visitors strongly agree that they are more likely to want to visit Britain in the next few years because London will host the Games in 2012. Tourism gains are expected to come largely from emerging markets inspired by increased media exposure and publicity associated with the Games. Indeed, hosting the Games makes Britain particularly appealing for emerging markets China, India, Malaysia, Mexico and South Korea.
To showcase Britain’s sporting assets, VisitBritain is leading a delegation from the nations and regions to promote their sports facilities and venues as pre-Games training camps. Delegates will spend time in Beijing and Macau to gain an understanding of the economic benefit of training camps, as well as the requirements of athletes. They will participate in receptions to launch the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games’ (LOCOG) Pre-Games Training Camp prospectus and will showcase Britain’s sporting venues and facilities to senior members of National Olympic Committees and the international federations of the 26 sports participating in the 2012 Games.
VisitBritain is also launching a new film that promotes Britain’s sporting heritage, showcasing an exciting and inspiring, modern, 21st century destination. Its consumer website will have a dedicated, sport and Olympic Games-related area, www.visitbritain.com/London2012 as well as a dedicated press area and broadcast quality, b-roll footage.
VisitBritain’s director of strategy and communications, Sandie Dawe, is leading the organisation’s Olympic Games strategy. She says: “While in China, we will remind the nations of the world that Britain is the birthplace of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as sports like rugby, cricket and tennis. We will take the passion that Britain and its visitors hold for football and tennis, for sporting events like the Grand National, Wimbledon, the Henley Regatta, the London Marathon and the Great North Run, Wales’ National Eisteddfod and the Braemar Highland Games - alongside quirky events such as bog snorkelling - to reinforce a vibrant image of Britain that appeals to tomorrow’s travellers.”