VisitBritain, the national tourist board for England, Scotland and Wales, has unveiled a new GREAT Britain campaign initiative, The Countryside Collection, with an unforgettable celebration in New York City. The night included an intimate performance by Katherine Jenkins, OBE, the world’s best-selling classical crossover artist and Dancing with the Stars finalist. Alexandra Richards, DJ, model and daughter of British rock legend, Keith Richards, served as the night’s DJ.
The event was hosted by Her Majesty’s Consul General Danny Lopez and saw over 150 of New York’s top media, taste makers and influencers including Lily Donaldson, Matthew Goode, Tennessee Thomas, Mikey Kay, Mickey Boardman, Lady Liliana Cavendish, Matthew Hitt, Ben Watts, Andrew Levitas and more, embark on an immersive experience to discover the unexpected side of Great Britain’s stunning countryside. As part of the Government’s successful GREAT Britain campaign, The Countryside Collection aims to grow the visitor economy and increase tourism in the rural areas of the country.
Katherine Jenkins, OBE, from Neath, Wales, is the world’s most prolific classical crossover artist and the fastest-selling mezzo-soprano ever. In her role as an official ambassador for Britain’s GREAT campaign, Katherine has recorded an exclusive track honoring her homeland, entitled “Home,” which was performed live at the event. Katherine dazzled in a dress designed by Stella McCartney, a fellow GREAT ambassador for the GREAT Britain Campaign.
The Countryside Collection launch was an evening of storytelling and memory-making as guests were welcomed into a large SoHo studio and transported to a ‘GREAT room’ of a contemporary British country house hotel. Once inside, guests were taken on a journey through the senses, bringing the surprising nature of the British countryside to life. A toast led by VisitBritain kicked off the evening and personal countryside memories were shared with the night’s guests, including foreign correspondent, TV host and world traveler Mikey Kay and Katherine Jenkins, OBE. Guests were surrounded by a mix of modern and traditional British textiles, delicious British winter comfort foods interpreted in a contemporary way and stunning photography and art - all showcasing the heart of the real British countryside, standing in stark contrast to what they thought they knew about Britain.
Of her involvement, Katherine Jenkins said, “The countryside of Britain offers American visitors a place alive with culture and blessed with stunning scenic beauty for all to enjoy. I am delighted to be working with VisitBritain and the GREAT Britain campaign to showcase the best of the British countryside.” Katherine’s tenth studio album, “Home Sweet Home,” will be released in the US on January 27 and draws on special moments and authentic experiences to showcase Katherine’s passion for her homeland to the world.
“Our research shows that Britain’s beautiful landscapes are often overlooked by our overseas visitors,” said Joss Croft, VisitBritain’s global Director of Marketing. “With this campaign, we want to re-energize Americans’ perceptions of the British countryside and encourage visitors to explore different parts of Britain. The ultimate aim is to increase the revenue international tourism generates for the rural economy.”
“Our countryside offers the very best of Britain,” said Danny Lopez, Her Majesty’s Consul General in New York. “Visitors will experience world-class museums and galleries, delicious local cuisine and first-rate heritage sites, just as they might in the big cities. And they can enjoy all this from the Highlands of Scotland to the tallest peaks of North Wales and throughout England’s beautiful villages. It truly is the best of both worlds.”
The Countryside Collection was curated by three esteemed American travel tastemakers, and the destinations and experiences were hand-selected, based on their passion points and the interests of their fans and followers. Specializing in a diverse mix of luxury, food, adventure and culture, Kirsten Alana, Rob Lloyd and Rachelle Lucas were all on hand to bring their curated collection of countryside picks to life. Travelers can follow their journeys and find inspiration at the visitbritain.com/countrysidecollection – the newly created campaign website.
The Countryside Collection represents the first time the national tourism board has developed a campaign using a mix of curated content from American travel experts and crowd-sourced itinerary ideas from their followers. Brand42, the London based Creative/Digital Agency, designed the UX/UI of the campaign site and also developed the fully responsive interactive experience to support the wider campaign.