Visitors to Britain will soon find it easier than ever to see when their favourite Premier League football team is playing, book tickets for a match, enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the ground, or find out more about attractions and experiences in nearby destinations. VisitBritain has joined forces with the Premier League, the world’s most popular football competition, to profile destinations with links to Premier League players and clubs.
Potential visitors can use a single website, www.visitbritain.com/football, which launches at the end of November, to find out when their favourite players are taking to the pitch, what they like about Britain, as well as a wealth of things to see and do in and around teams’ home grounds. Visitors to the website can check ticket availability for all Premier League Club fixtures and purchase them through official ticket outlets.
With 41% of potential visitors to Britain very likely to watch a football match during their trip, and around 1.2m visitors attending a football match during trips to the UK in 2007, tourism bosses expect the partnership to draw even more attention to Britain’s appeals. The site will feature information on the twenty clubs in the Premier League - from Chelsea, Middlesbrough and Manchester United to Portsmouth, Hull City and Stoke City, as well as other destinations such as Liverpool and Newcastle.
England’s Barclays Premier League is the world’s most popular and most watched football league - with a cumulative global audience in excess of 4.5 billion. Players like Didier Drogba from the Ivory Coast, Fernando Torres from Spain, and Ji-Sung Park from South Korea give an example of the diversity of the Barclays Premier League and the partnership aims to use the appeal of both British and foreign stars to attract people to the UK. The website will give fans examples of the some of the favoured British destinations of top Premier League players. It will also help promote Britain as a tourist destination for business visitors, highlighting conference facilities at stadia venues.
Tom Wright, chief executive of VisitBritain, said: “England’s Premier League is an iconic brand that people around the world are familiar with and, as one in ten (14%) of all our visitors watch or take part in sport during their trip to Britain, it could inspire many more to come here.
“For many people, their first encounter with Britain is through our sporting, film, literary or music heritage. Football is widely watched overseas and, with matches being shown in over 200 countries around the world. Our work with the Premier League will help us reach new audiences and encourage even more people to consider a trip to Britain in 2008 and beyond.”
Premier League Chief Executive, Richard Scudamore, said: “This partnership with VisitBritain gives us a unique opportunity to use the interest in the Premier League Clubs to encourage potential visitors to attend matches and visit the many other attractions nearby.
“The Barclays Premier League is now watched in over 200 countries around the world and our clubs are more involved in their own communities than ever before. This means they, as ambassadors for their local areas, are ideally positioned to promote their cities both at home and abroad.”
Tourism Minister Barbara Follett said: “Britain has an outstanding international sporting reputation and many people will want to visit the homeland of their heroes. This new website is a great way of encouraging potential visitors to explore everything the United Kingdom has to offer whilst giving them the chance to find out more about their favourite team or player.
“I applaud this new initiative and the partnership working which produced it.”