Culture Secretary Maria Miller today launched a tourism partnership strategy for Britain which calls for the travel industry and the government, together with key public and private sector bodies, to unite behind a long-term ambition for growth that would see Britain welcome 40 million overseas visitors by 2020, spending £31.5 billion and supporting an additional 200,000 jobs across the country.
Tourism is an industry that already employs 2.6 million people a year – supporting one in twelve jobs in the UK.
In the past two years a third of all new jobs created were in tourism.
And tourism offers jobs across all skills levels and age ranges, particularly offering opportunities for young people – 40 per cent of those employed in tourism are under 40.
International tourism is already an industry at which Britain competes well.
Last year Britain welcomed 31 million international visitors who spent £18.6 billion - a record amount.
The aim of this partnership strategy is to deliver a further 29 per cent growth in visits by 2020, that increase would deliver an additional £8.7 billion in foreign exchange earnings.
The growth strategy is built around four key objectives:
VisitBritain’s GREAT activity for 2013/14 will seek to maintain the awareness and image boost created by London 2012.
The campaign will target strongly performing growth markets, Brazil, China, India and the Gulf along with established markets USA, France and Germany.
Over the last two years, VisitBritain’s marketing programme has directly contributed £900 million to the UK tourism industry, a return on investment of 18 to one.
VisitBritain has so far secured £24 million in match-funding from the private sector, doubling the Government investment.
And today VisitBritain is announcing a £2 million, two-year partnership with Emirates to promote Britain overseas.
The deal will include a combination of marketing in kind and cash payments.
Emirates cover a vast network of routes and destinations across South East Asia, Australia, India and the GCC and offer regional gateways across Britain.
The GCC region now signifies great potential for inbound visits to Britain.
By 2016 we forecast that 700,000 visitors will be welcomed representing a 32 per cent increase.
As part of the growth strategy the organisation announces its new regional hub in Dubai which will enable it to reach across the GCC including Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Jeddah, Kuwait City and Qatar.
VisitBritain - which is already at the forefront of partnership working - will look at creative ways in which existing resources, platforms and promotional material can be used by other organisations.
This is expected to include private sector partners and public diplomacy teams in source markets such as Mexico and South Korea.
Reflecting the responses from the consultation, the strategy reiterates the importance of business tourism and the power of major events to increase visitor numbers, VisitBritain will build on the work already being carried out in this area – particularly in supporting major event bids, and using its overseas network to provide key insights and trade engagement.
Miller said: “Tourism is central to the Government’s economic growth strategy.
“It’s worth £115 billion to our economy a year and we need to ensure we retain a competitive edge and can compete with other destinations around the world.
“With the GREAT campaign we are selling the best of Britain, building on strengths to boost tourism income right across the country.”