could evolve into the “Google for British tourism”

27th Mar 2009

VisitBritain chairman Christopher Rodrigues has revealed plans to turn its website into a “Google for British tourism”, providing the definitive web platform to search the nation online.
The tourism chief wants to enlist regional development agencies and tourist authorities to work more closely together to create the common platform.
Speaking during British Tourism Week, Rodrigues told Travolution: “We have to evolve into a Google for Britain. Having multiple competing platforms with data that is not inter-operable is missing an opportunity. You ought to be able to search the nation [online].”
He pointed out how travellers currently have to visit a multitude of sites to find out about certain types of holidays across Britain. And this should be integrated into one.
He said: “We need to persuade fellow regions to migrate to a common operating standard and in time a common platform,” he added. “Events will drive travel, particularly the shorthaul [overseas] markets. What we are trying to do is to be increasingly consumer friendly so that we help them make a decision on when and where.”
Rodrigues’s call to action comes hot on the heels of the recent partnership announcement between VisitBritain and Google to create a digital visual guide aimed at encouraging tourism to the UK.
VisitBritain will use Google’s Street View service, launched this month, to create a guide that will feature sites in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds and Oxford.
Street View allows users to view panoramic street level photographs of cities across the UK.
Justin Reid, head of online marketing at Visit Britain says the partnership with Google forms part of its strategy of using moving imagery and peer to peer influence.
He believes that because people can take friends and family on “a virtual tour” when they return home it could also influence others to visit.


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